Disclaimer: In no way do I think that I am completely ignorant, but I do feel that I need to have a point of view about issues and this is what this blog is about.
Ebola is back on the top of the list of news stories today, mostly it seems because of the news of another infected American doctor, Rick Sacra. According to his family, he is in good spirits and was able to isolate himself as soon as he felt a fever coming on and got himself to an Ebola clinic.
Debbie says she is surrounded by friends and family who are “praying fervently” for Rick’s recovery.
“Rick would want me to urge you to remember that there are many people in Liberia who are suffering in this epidemic and others who are not receiving standard healthcare because clinics and hospitals have been forced to close,” Sacra said in the statement. “West Africa is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis and the world needs to respond compassionately and generously.”
This humanitarian crisis is in danger of becoming of epic proportions, if it has not already done so. Everything I just read cries out for help that would have been there six months ago if this had happened anywhere besides West Africa.
Unlike the SARS crisis of 2003, which struck countries in Asia and elsewhere that had strong governments and ample money to spring to action, the Ebola outbreak has waylaid nations that often lack basic health care, much less the ability to mount big campaigns to stamp out epidemics.
To aid the fight, wealthy individuals offered the W.H.O. “literally hundreds of millions because their businesses were affected,” said Dr. Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank and a former director at the W.H.O. “But as SARS burned out, those guys disappeared, and we forgot very quickly.”
Just read a blog raising some very serious issues, the one standing out the most to me is that this strain of Ebola is basically identical to the one that broke out in the initial 1976 outbreak. But once that outbreak “went away”, so did everyone’s attention to Ebola. Just think if research had continued on a vaccine for Ebola, this would not be an issue today. But we all know that there is not enough funding and that cuts to the WHO (World Health Organization) have basically kept some of these diseases alive
The W.H.O. hoped to balance its budget cuts by strengthening the ability of countries to respond to public health threats on their own. It put out new regulations for nations to follow to help contain outbreaks. But by 2012, the deadline it set, only 20 percent of nations had enacted them all. In Africa, fewer than a third of countries had programs to detect and stop infectious diseases at their borders. The W.H.O.’s strategy was often more theory than reality.
“There never were the resources to put those things in place in many parts of the world,” said Dr. Scott F. Dowell, a specialist formerly with the C.D.C.
Nancy Writebol spoke to the media for the first time since returning to the United States for treatment of Ebola.
Shortly before SIM released details of Sacra’s condition, Nancy Writebol, a missionary with SIM, spoke to reporters for the first time, describing her own “dark days” with Ebola. Writebol was brought back to the United States for treatment in August and has since recovered.
Writebol said she is often asked what she believes saved her — whether it was returning to the U.S. for treatment, an experimental medication, her deep faith, or the supportive care she received from doctors in Liberia.
“My answer to that question is all of the above,” she said.
“God uses means. God uses doctors, and I can tell you again, amazing doctors. God uses experimental drugs. We don’t know whether the ZMapp helped. We don’t know. We don’t know if it was the supportive care. The supportive care was very, very necessary,” she said.
“All of those things played a part in saving our lives.”
Thomas Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, put out a cry for help.
In an impassioned call to action, he urged American doctors, nurses, and health care professionals to join Africa in its fight. “This isn’t just the countries’ problem,” he said. “It’s a global problem.” With vivid detail, Frieden painted a gruesome picture of overcrowded isolation centers in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, where health care workers are struggling to keep up with “basic care.” He mentioned deficiencies not only in the number of doctors, nurses, and health managers available, but the protective gear needed to keep them safe. Without an immediate change in the current landscape, he said, the worst is yet to come. “The level of outbreak is beyond anything we’ve seen—or even imagined,” Frieden said.
At one particular 35-bed facility, Frieden described the chilling sight of more than three-dozen Ebola patients without beds, left with no other place to fight their infections but the floor. The health care workers, too, face “distressing” conditions. “Roasting hot” personal protective gear including robes, masks, boots, and goggles, make simply drawing an IV a near impossible task. “It is very difficult to move…sweats pours into goggles, [the health workers] see the enormous need but the great risk, too,” he said.
But even more alarming than the disturbing images, was the lack of outside support. “The most upsetting thing I saw was what I didn’t see,” he said. “No data from countries where it’s spreading, no rapid response teams, no trucks, a lack of efficient management,” he said. “I could not possibly overstate the need for an urgent response.”
I hope and pray that the International community wakes up very soon and pours some help into West Africa. Ignorance of Ebola will not make it go away. From what I have learned, it can be controlled but they need help. Supplies, volunteers and money are all needed. Here is a link to a blog by a very inspired individual that is trying to help. There are other ways to help. Even if you can’t send money or volunteer, spread the word of this terrible situation until people ARE talking about it.
I saw a comment to one of the articles that really puts things in perspective to me
Ebola tends to spread rapidly in areas where poverty is widespread and large swaths of the population don’t have access to modern health care. In other words the U.S. is ripe for an Ebola pandemic to take hold