(Washington Post) – Deep in the rain forest, down a dirt road with potholes that swallow four-wheel-drive vehicles, is a tiny point of light in the darkness that Ebola has brought to Liberia.
The Bong Ebola Treatment Unit is a modest collection of blue tents, connected by gravel paths, near the site of a former leper colony. But when the camp opened Monday, it provided the first 10 beds for Ebola victims in this rural county four hours from Monrovia, where 183 people are known to have been infected with the virus since July, and 81 have died. Most people believe there are many more victims.
Until now, any of Bong County’s more than 325,000 residents who showed symptoms of Ebola had to find his way to the capital or another treatment center in Foya, six to seven hours away. Many people just stayed home, hoping to survive the virus on their own. But with 60 more beds planned, two pickup trucks that serve as ambulances and scores of trained Liberian staff, the Bong center is now making a small contribution against the most deadly Ebola outbreak on record.
“There was an acknowledgment on the part of many of the actors in the response that there was a need for a facility in the middle of the country,” said Sean Casey, the Liberia emergency response team director for the International Medical Corps (IMC), which is running the center.