A new clinic is giving some of the most vulnerable Ebola patients a better chance at surviving the virus. The facility is the first care center created specifically for pregnant women since the current outbreak began, Reuters reported. There is currently one patient in the clinic, which is perched on a hill in the compound of a disused Methodist boys high school in the Sierra Leone capital.
More than 20,700 people have been infected with the virus in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia since it began a year ago and at least 8,200 people have died, according to World Health Organization figures. “Pregnant women (with Ebola) are a high-risk group so they have less chance than … the rest of the population,” Esperanza Santos, one of the organization’s field coordinators, told Reuters.
Pregnant women are also especially vulnerable patients in West African health care systems that are disheveled by the outbreak, The Washington Post reported. While many medical treatments can be deferred, the arrival of a child cannot, the source pointed out: Women who’ve gone into labor in Ebola-inflicted areas risk being denied access to hospitals, as medical staff do not want to expose the woman to patients who have Ebola.
Sierra Leone’s first confirmed Ebola case was last May 24 when a pregnant woman was brought to the public hospital in the eastern town of Kenema from the border district of Kailahun. She miscarried and died, infecting her nurses.