So I’m sure you’ve heard about the Ebola outbreak in Africa, and I’m sure you’ve also heard lots of scaremongering stories about Ebola coming to your country. The latest estimates say that the Ebola outbreak has been grossly underestimated, and they now think there are 5 new cases every hour. So far, there are 3,338 recorded deaths and 7,718 recorded cases, with countless more cases unrecorded as people are frequently treated at home. This is happening in countries where the healthcare systems often lack funds, and there is very little infection control. Demand for healthcare is now completely outstripping supply. Often education in rural communities where this is spreading is poor, and few people have had the disease explained to them.
The vice president of the charity AmeriCares has said they have recieved less than a tenth of the donations they did for their Phillipines appeal. Other NGOs such as American Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders have put off creating deidcated donation pages because of lack of interest from donors. Ebola is not a visual tragedy, people don’t want to see the pictures of victims. It’s also something that’s relatively easy to ignore; it doesn’t really effect us here in the West, and we are getting few tear-jerking stories to play on our emotions. But people are dying, and its escalating quickly, the longer people have insufficient access to healthcare, the faster the virus will spread.
And it’s also in our best interests to stop Ebola. One or two Ebola cases here are not something to be concerned about; the West has healthcare systems more than capable of dealing with that, but at the moment this outbreak is on the edge of spiralling out of control, some argue it already has. And we can only guess at how quickly it may spread between continents.
People are dying in a horrible, nightmarish way. To stop it, we need to help provide effective healthcare, information, and isolation. It shouldn’t matter that this is not a visual tragedy, people’s lives should not depend on our heart strings being tugged.
These are some of the best ways to help.
- UNICEF is helping with education and healthcare
- Doctors Without Borders are in the countries providing medical treatment
- Save the Children are co-ordinating a maassive responce involving awareness, infection control, emotional support and looking after orphans
- Africare are re-inforcing healthcare systems, providing equipment and working to liase with African ministers.
- Red Cross and Red Crescent are providing emotional support, disposing of the dead and carrying out research
- World Vision is providing education and medical supplies
And here is the WHO’s page on Ebola to find out more.
Of course there are countless orgainsations helping, these are just some who are co-ordinating large scale responses.
A picture of Malala Yousafzai is seen on a blackboard at Yousafzai’s old school, Khushal Girls High School, in Mingora, Pakistan’s Swat Valley October 11, 2014.
Girls attends a class at a government girls’ high school in Mingora, Pakistan’s Swat Valley October 11, 2014. Hours after Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, people in her hometown in Pakistan erupted in joy that a young woman from their conservative society had won global recognition for fighting for women’s right to education. The words on the girl’s cheek read, “In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful”.
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