The only way to contain the Ebola outbreak is to address it in West Africa. “We have to stop it (Ebola) at its source. That’s the only way to get control,” said the director of the CDC, Tom Frieden. “As long as there is a major epidemic in West Africa, the rest of the world is at risk.”
West Africa is facing the worst Ebola outbreak in history. The WHO reported on October 14, 2014, that the number of new Ebola cases in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone could reach 10,000 a week by the end of this year. The CDC predicts that by January of 2015 there will be 1.4 million cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia alone. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it an international public health emergency.
What some might not be aware of, is the bigger picture. This outbreak becomes even more critical if the virus continues to spread in West Africa at its current pace. If it does, then much larger global outbreaks of the Ebola virus will become more likely. This could pose a significant risk to the U.S. and other countries in the coming months. Ebola needs to be stopped before it becomes a pandemic.
There is no widely available vaccine or treatment for Ebola. The WHO reported that more than 400 health workers have developed the disease in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, and 200 have died. There are shortages of medical staff and protective medical equipment for health workers in West Africa.
In the absence of an available vaccine or cure, the only way to contain the outbreak is through isolation, reports Scientific American. “In order to halt the calamitous chain of transmission, at least 50 percent of all infectious Ebola patients in West Africa would need to be isolated and kept from infecting other individuals.”
Aid organizations, partnering with the WHO, have deployed doctors, nurses, and medical supplies to the affected countries. They are providing health care services, educational programs and mental health support.
Because there is a shortage of doctors and nurses in West Africa, medical personnel are volunteering to fight the Ebola virus there. There is a desperate need for more volunteers to staff hospitals and clinics, and to provide education to the people who live there.
In response to relief efforts to West Africa, Doctors without Borders/MSF reports, “critical gaps in all aspects of the response, including medical care, training of health staff, infection control, contract tracing, epidemiological surveillance, alert and referral systems, community education and mobilization.”
The United Nations (UN) officials called the Ebola crisis unparalleled in modern times.
Aid organizations need our help so they can train and deploy more volunteers to the affected areas in West Africa. Organizations such as Doctors Without Borders/MSF, The American Red Cross and UNICEF, among many others, are providing health care, education programs, emotional support, medical supplies, and more.
Doctors Without Borders/MSF has sent response teams, including many doctors, who are treating the sick. MSF currently has 3,058 staff working in affected countries. They operate six Ebola management centers and provide more than 502 hospital beds, and more.
The American Red Cross is leading disease prevention education and awareness efforts. They just opened a new clinic to fight Ebola in Sierra Leone. Thousands of International Federation of Red Cross volunteers have been trained and deployed to support the response. They are in the process of training more than 5,600 volunteers to reach a larger geographical area.
One aspect of this devastating crisis that many of us don’t know about, is the 3,700 children in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone who have lost one or both parents to Ebola. According to UNICEF, these children are in urgent need of attention and support, especially because in some communities the fears about Ebola have driven families apart, leaving orphaned children abandoned. UNICEF helped the Liberian government train 400 additional mental health and social workers and have supplied 550 tons of supplies to the affected areas.
Following is a list of non-governmental, charity organizations that are involved in relief efforts in the Ebola-affected countries. Even though our government has increased its efforts to help contain the Ebola crisis, President Obama emphasized the need for help from nonprofit organizations to effectively fight it.
This is where you and I come in. I donated to two organizations. Please consider giving your support.
This is by no means a complete list. I do not endorse any of these organizations. This list is provided for your convenience.
Charity Organizations Providing Relief Efforts in West Africa to Fight Ebola
American Jewish World Service https://secure.ajws.org/site/Donation2?df_id=7482&7482.donation=form1
American Red Cross http://www.redcross.org/news/article/West-Africa-Ebola-Outbreak
Doctors Without Borders http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/our-work/medical-issues/ebola
Medical Teams International http://www.medicalteams.org/where-we-work/africa
Med Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/our-work/medical-issues/ebola
More Than Me http://www.morethanme.org
Samaritan’s Purse http://www.samaritanspurse.org/disaster/ebola-crisis/
Photo by John Moore, Getty Images