Ebola bullies itself into the forefront of global awareness more and more every day, and VICE News’ The Fight Against Ebola traces the virus’ current outbreak to its roots in Guinea in December of 2013. It quickly found its way into Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and at the time of the making of this film, Liberia had become the focal point of what, by March 2014, had quickly developed into a full-on epidemic. In excess of 3000 infections had been recorded there to date, with around half of them proving to be fatal.
VICE reporter Danny Gold takes us into Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, to document the conditions that citizens there are being forced to combat in the wake of the virus’ invasion. Redemption Hospital, the epicentre of Ebola treatment in the city, is where we are first introduced to the disparate state of healthcare workers’ efforts to control and treat the outbreak. The facility is overwhelmed and incapable of treating the steadily increasing influx of new patients that are arriving literally by the van-load all day, every day.
An interview with a fearless ambulance driver reveals he has eight infected citizens in his vehicle behind him as he speaks with the filmmakers, and that they will be forced to remain in there until the hospital has room to take them in. Another interview outside the facility highlights an infected man lying in a latrine that had been there for hours because no beds were available inside. Not only is this terrible for the patients themselves, but after being denied admittance they are often forced back out into the community where they become conduits for spreading the virus.
The focus then moves to West Point, a nearby slum where the virus is also present. In the impoverished conditions here, even though the outbreak is not yet any more prevalent than elsewhere at the time of filming, there is still a much higher risk of the virus getting a foothold simply because of the population concentration and lack of resources to effectively mitigate risks.
The remainder of the film follows the crew as they join body retrieval teams claiming those that have succumbed to the virus, and explore various camps and temporary emergency treatment facilities.