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German Ebola treatment center officially opened in Liberia

Liberia has hailed the official opening of its first German Ebola treatment center. The ceremony took place one day after global health officials announced that the Ebola death toll had passed 7,500.

The German-Liberia Ebola treatment Center was officially opened by Liberia's Assistant Minister for Health, Tolbert Nyenswah and the German ambassador to Liberia, Ralph Timmermann.

The center has an initial capacity of 50 beds. "There are three different wards - one for suspected cases, another for probable cases and yet another for confirmed cases," Christian Schuh, outgoing head of the German Red Cross told DW at the ceremony in the center in Paynesville on the outskirts of the capital Monrovia on Tuesday (23.12.2014)

There are also facilities and space for nurses, doctors, pharmacies, training and teaching.

Timmermann said the construction of the German-Liberia Ebola treatment center was in response to a written request for assistance sent by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in September.

Timmermann said Germany had so far raised $150 million (123 million euros) to help fight Ebola in the three worst affected countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Liberia Monrovia Zentrum Deutsches Rotes Kreuz

Health workers practice wearing protective suits before treating patients

"This is a very major sum, and we are very, very committed to help Liberia eradicate Ebola, because we know that without this we will not progress," he said.

Liberians hopeful

Local community representative Jenneh Collins said "we are very happy to have this facility"

The treatment center will be run by a staff of more than 100 German and Liberian nationals. The German staff include members of the German Red Cross and German armed forces.

DW's correspondent in Monrovia, Julius Kanubah said that with more tangible international responses - such as this center from Germany - Liberians were hopeful that the struggle against Ebola would be over sooner rather than later.

Liberia Monrovia Zentrum Deutsches Rotes Kreuz

Jenneh Collins from the SKD Sports Complex Community was 'very happy'

On Monday the World Health Organization reported that 9,340 people had been infected with the virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, of whom 7,518 had died as of December 20.

Ebola is one of the deadliest diseases known to man and is spread through direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person. People caring for the sick or handling the bodies of people infected with Ebola are especially at risk.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday his organization should learn lessons from this Ebola outbreak and begin preparing for the next one.

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