Photo: Dr. Frank Glover treats a non-Ebola patient in Liberia. Glover, a medical missionary who partners with SIM (www.simusa.org), testified today before a congressional subcommittee about combating the Ebola threat in Liberia.
The subcommittee is part of the Foreign Affairs Committee and is chaired by Rep. Christopher H. Smith of New Jersey. It oversees "Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations."
Dr. Glover is a board certified urologist who earned his M.D. and Doctor of Public Health in International Health degrees from Johns Hopkins University. He is the president of SHIELD, a U.S.-based NGO that works in Liberia, and he also partners with SIM. For the past three years, Glover has spent four months out of each year working in hospitals throughout Liberia. During that time, he has helped care for thousands of patients and had the opportunity to assess many hospitals and clinics.
"This Ebola outbreak in Liberia has exposed the country's inherently weak health system," Glover testified. "Less than 200 doctors existed in this country of four million people prior to this epidemic. After the outbreak in March of this year, that number plummeted to only 50 doctors. This occurred as the result of the exodus of 95 percent of the expatriate doctors."
"Many patients are dying with Ebola in their communities, in part, because there are simply no open health facilities. This creates problems, because whole families are getting infected and dying. Given the episodic nature of Ebola, we must begin investing in healthcare systems, strengthening as we prepare to deal with future outbreaks," he said.
Unless immediate action is taken in Liberia -- including isolating patients, a quarantine program and protective gear -- the death toll will likely reach into the thousands, Glover testified.
The latest updates on Nancy Writebol's condition and SIM's role in the Ebola epidemic in Liberia are available at www.simusa.org.
SIM (www.simusa.org) is an international Christian mission organization with a staff of nearly 3,000 workers serving in more than 65 countries. In addition to medicine, SIM serves on every continent in areas of education, community development, public health and Christian witness. While SIM stood for Sudan Interior Mission when it was founded 120 years ago, it is now a global mission known as SIM. Two of SIM's three founders died of tropical disease within the first year of the organization's founding. Yet SIM continued on to become one of the largest Christian medical missions in the world.