On the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

There is an ongoing crisis in West Africa that continues to become more serious by the day. With over 3,000 dead as of September, the world is faced with the largest Ebola outbreak in known history.

For those who do not know, Ebola or EVD (Ebola Virus Disease), is a disease that is developed from contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected animal, most commonly fruit bats. Symptoms include traditional fever symptoms from weakness and headache, and can develop into internal bleeding.

Doctors and nurses who are attempting to treat infected patients have been infected and have suffered many fatalities. Ebola has a high fatality rate in underdeveloped countries, with The World Health Organization estimating 25 percent to as high as 90 percent rate of fatality.

Many of these countries in Western Africa have a shortage of doctors as well. In Liberia for instance, many doctors left during the civil war. While some doctors have returned to Liberia and nearby countries it is far from enough, and the medical infrastructure within these West African countries is far from ideal.

Currently the situation has escalated to the point where many hospitals and schools have been closed down in Liberia and other West African nations. This not only exaggerates the situation further, it also makes it difficult for health care professionals to assist those in need, for their livelihood may be at stake as well. Many NGOs such as the Peace Corps have been forced to leave the region due to the health concerns, leaving only a handful of NGOS on the ground. As the Western media has only now begun to focus on the outbreak more as Americans and Europeans are beginning to contract the virus, and leading to the development of a vaccine to fight Ebola.

Regrettably we are disconnected from those who suffer and struggle in other places in the world. Once a vaccine is developed which could be weeks or months down the road, there will be a primary focus within the international community to assist those in the Western World before others. It is true that countries have a responsibility to their own citizens beyond others, yet does this mean that countries can neglect the plight of so many?

So knowing this desperate situation what can you do? Despite many NGOS leaving the region there are still those who are continuing to fight to the best of their ability. Organizations like Imani House among other organizations have set up donation pages on a variety of websites such as www.globalgiving.org. Even a small amount could make a big difference to those in need. Please focus on the plight of a people, please focus the struggles that are so frequently ignored.