November 11, 2014 / 6:57 PM / 5 years ago

Sierra Leone to pay families of health workers who die of Ebola

A health worker prepares to disinfect a van used for burial purposes in Freetown, Sierra Leone, November 10, 2014. REUTERS/Josephus Olu-Mamma

FREETOWN (Reuters) - Sierra Leone will make a one-off payment of $5,000 (3,140 pounds) to the family of any health worker who dies as a result of treating an Ebola patient, authorities said on Tuesday, as a sixth doctor in the country tested positive for the virus.

The National Ebola Response Centre said the benefit would be paid retroactively to relatives of the more than 100 health workers who have died from the disease in Sierra Leone. The figure includes all five doctors who had previously tested positive.

The number of Ebola cases is surging in Sierra Leone due to a lack of treatment centres, while lack of food and basic goods is forcing some people to leave quarantine areas, the United Nations said last week.

At least 1,062 people have died from the virus in the country. The toll from the epidemic in the three worst hit countries, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, has risen to 4,950 from 13,241 cases, according to World Health Organisation data.

Martin Sallia, a physician specialist at the main Connaught hospital in the capital Freetown, tested positive on Tuesday, according to senior physician specialist James Russell.

Sallia initially tested negative on Friday and was discharged but when his symptoms did not alleviate he was tested again and proved positive, Russell said.

Writing by Umaru Fofana; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Mark Trevelyan

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