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Heart To Heart Pledges Humanitarian Aid For Liberian Ebola Victims

Elle Moxley

An international aid organization based in Lenexa, Kan., on Tuesday announced plans to operate a medical facility in Liberia to treat Ebola victims.

Heart to Heart International CEO Jim Mitchum says running the 70-bed Ebola treatment unit will be the largest and most challenging humanitarian effort the organization has ever undertaken. It will cost approximately $6 million to operate the facility, which should open in November, for six months.

Mitchum says Heart to Heart will recruit doctors and nurses for six-week deployments, when they'll work with approximately 200 Liberians to staff the treatment center.

"They will spend the first week attending training to assure all the necessary protocols are well understood and that they are able to keep themselves and their coworkers safe," he says.

The announcement comes on the heels of the first reported case contracted outside the U.S., by a nurse in Spain who cared for evacuated Ebola victims. 

"We at KU Hospital have systems in place to assure you that should Heart to Heart volunteers and staff – and their worried families – need our care, we are here to help you," says University of Kansas Hospital Chief Medical Officer Lee Norman.

Ebola can only be contracted through contact with bodily fluids. Contrary to internet rumors, there have been no confirmed cases in Kansas City.

There have been just under 4,000 reported cases of Ebola in Liberia, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say those numbers could balloon to 1.4 million there and in neighboring Sierra Leone. The Ebola treatment unit Heart to Heart will operate is one of 27 the CDC says Liberia needs to contain the epidemic.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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