Liberia Fires Officials for Not Returning to Fight Ebola

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has fired 10 senior officials who defied an order to return to the country and help in the fight against Ebola.

The officials, including assistant ministers, deputy ministers and commissioners, had been told in August come back to Liberia.  

The African country has been hit hard by an Ebola outbreak, which has claimed more than 2,400 lives in West Africa.

The humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders has called the situation in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea catastrophic because the countries’ healthsystems cannot deal with the large number of Ebola patients.  The virus also has killed many qualified medical workers, causing a shortage in the most affected countries.

Officials in Sierra Leone confirmed Sunday that a fourth doctor had died from the disease.  

They said Olivette Buck died hours after the World Health Organization said it would not be able to evacuate her to Germany for treatment.  The organization had instead offered to give her the best care possible in Sierra Leone, including possible access to experimental drugs.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to travel Tuesday to the Center for Disease Control headquarters in Atlanta to be briefed about the Ebola outbreak and to discuss the U.S. response to the epidemic.

U.S. government contributions toward fighting the outbreak have topped $100 million. The private Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation this week pledged $50 million to purchase supplies and speed up development of potential therapies.

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