Medicines supply chain ‘overwhelmed’ by Ebola crisis


Health workers and volunteers read out handouts to local villagers on how to protect themselves from ebola virus, Liberia. (Source: Rex Features / Eyepress / SIPA)

Pharmacists working in West Africa have spoken about the overwhelming scale of the challenges they have faced in Liberia in the battle against the Ebola virus.

They paint a picture of a system unable to cope and a problem that is beyond the “capacity and responsibility of any single government”.

They speak of pharmacists ill-equipped to manage the disease and of pharmacy technicians dying because they lack the necessary protective clothing.

The frank disclosures come from Lloyd Matowe, program director for Pharmaceutical Systems Africa — an organisation devoted to developing sustainable supply chains in developing countries — and John H Harris, from the Liberian government’s health and social welfare department, where he is responsible for supply chain management.

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