- Associated Press - Thursday, October 9, 2014

MEDFORD, Mass. (AP) - A Massachusetts-based nonprofit health organization is sending a team of experts to work with Liberian health officials fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the organization’s president said Thursday.

A team from Management Sciences for Health in Medford arrived in Liberia this week to work with the Liberian government and other community leaders to identify gaps and unmet needs.

“Our immediate priorities are to work with government and community leaders to stop a health system collapse in Liberia, to prevent the epidemic from spreading to nearby nations and to restore Liberians’ trust in their health system,” President Dr. Jonathan Quick said.

The organization says Ebola cases are doubling every two weeks in Liberia. The disease, with a mortality rate of about 50 percent, has killed at least 3,800 people in West Africa with no signs of abating.

“It is likely that we will see more deaths from non-Ebola diseases and conditions than from Ebola itself if we don’t get the health system back up and functioning,” said Dr. Fred Hartman, the group’s pandemic preparedness and infectious diseases expert. “At the moment, most Ebola patients have nowhere to go for effective treatment. The health system has been overwhelmed by the outbreak and many essential health services have stopped.”

The organization also has an Ebola preparedness presence in Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon and Nigeria.

Founded in 1971, Management Sciences for Health manages projects in 29 African nations.

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