Ethiopian health workers arrive in Liberia to help fight Ebola

by Reuters
Tuesday, 16 December 2014 22:54 GMT

An Ethiopian health worker has her temperature taken upon arrival at Roberts airport outside Monrovia, Liberia, December 16, 2014. REUTERS/James Giahyue

Image Caption and Rights Information
Government wants to stamp out Ebola outbreak by Christmas

MONROVIA, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Scores of Ethiopian health workers arrived in Liberia on Tuesday to bolster the response to an Ebola outbreak that the government says it wants to stamp out before Christmas.

The 87 doctors and nurses will join an African Union (AU) mission against the worst Ebola outbreak on record, which has killed more than 6,800 people in Liberia and neighbouring Sierra Leone and Guinea.

They will join more than 175 Nigerian medics deployed to Liberia and Sierra Leone earlier this month.

"The aim of the AU is to support the government on the progress so far made. We want to expand on it, to make sure that the community also supports it," said Major-General Julius Oketta, who head's the AU Ebola mission.

The bulk of the African Union's efforts in Liberia focus on Montserrado County, which is home to the country's capital and largest city Monrovia.

Once the country hardest hit by the disease, Liberia has seen a sharp decline in new infections, spawning optimism that the outbreak there may be coming to an end.

"The campaign, getting to zero before Christmas, continues," said Liberia's assistant health minister Tolbert Nyenswah. "We are still having between five to 10 cases per day in Liberia, and that is huge."

(Reporting by James Harding Giahyue; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Grant McCool)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.