Is there ever a good time for an emergency?
No way! That’s why we set aside $25 every month into an Emergency Relief Fund so that we can make a donation to help people going through a crisis. We are prepared to help out in an emergency!
Last year, we donated to help the Philippines recover from the Typhoon, and now, we have another situation where we could help.
Ebola: The Crisis
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are facing a massive health crisis, and it’s making headlines in the U.S.. Liberia has suffered most in the Ebola epidemic, which has killed more than 3,800 people. Cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone could rise to between 550,000 and 1.4 million by January if there are no additional interventions, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report warned.
Let’s start with breaking down WHAT Ebola is.
Ebola is a virus that can be spread from fruit bats and primates to humans when these animals are consumed for food. Once the Ebola virus enters a human body, it can take anywhere from two to 21 days after infection for symptoms to kick in, but once they do, the pain is excruciating. It starts off with a fever, muscle pains, vomiting and diarrhea. It also makes the victims so weak that it leaves them bedridden. As the virus spreads, it can shut down major organs, such as the kidneys and liver. And the infection can cause internal and external bleeding from openings in the body, including eyes, ears, nose, rectum and even pores. The peak of the illness is the first seven to 10 days, during which patients are most likely to die. Source
Fortunately, Ebola is not a highly contagious disease. An infected person can only transmit the disease to someone else when they have started showing symptoms of the disease. As long as they are walking around and feeling fine, they can’t infect anyone. Once a fever and other symptoms begin, Ebola is highly infectious (please note, contagious and infectious mean different things), but it is only spread through close contact with infected blood, saliva, urine, stool and vomit. Source
Here is the important part… Close contact with infected blood, saliva, urine, stool and vomit.
Ebola can be quickly contained by isolating the infected so no one comes in contact with these bodily fluids. For this reason, the U.S. does not need to worry about an Ebola outbreak. Our robust health care system means we have the information and tools necessary to identify and respond appropriately to a patient with Ebola.
However, this is not the case in the developing world. In a community without health care facilities, the sick are cared for by their family who are then exposed to Ebola who get sick who are then cared for by other family members who get sick. The situation can be even worse if there are health care facilities that lack the appropriate tools. Nurses and doctors are especially hard hit, and in some communities, entire hospitals are abandoned after doctors and nurses begin dying and the rest are too scared to show up for work.
To contain Ebola, these communities need the services to identify, isolate, and treat people with Ebola so the disease stops spreading.
Ebola: The Cost
Unfortunately, an Ebola outbreak is part of a vicious cycle where a country is too poor to have robust health care and poor health care keeps a country poor. Make no mistake: Ebola is not just a human health crisis. It ‘s also an economic crisis.
Fear of the disease, the introduction of curfews and the difficulties of transporting food are expected to have a significant impact on production of food, iron, and gold. It has reduced labor force participation, closed places of employment, disrupted transportation, and motivated some government and private decision makers to close seaports and airports.
The World Bank estimates the current Ebola outbreak will cost Sierra Leone $163 million, or 3.3% of its GDP this year. If the epidemic continues to spread, the World Bank estimates it could lose as much as 8.9% of its GDP in 2015. For Liberia, the worst case estimates of cost are $234 million, or 12% of GDP. In Guinea it’s $142 million, or 2.3% of GDP. Source
Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders has been nominated for our Emergency Fund Donation.
They have been on the front lines of the Ebola response since March 2014 and are active in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. They currently employ 270 international and around 3,018 locally hired staff in the region to operate six Ebola case management centers. They provide approximately 600 beds in isolation.
Since the beginning of the outbreak, they have admitted more than 4,900 patients, among whom around 3,200 were confirmed as having Ebola. Around 1,140 have survived. More than 877 tons of supplies have been shipped to the affected countries since March.
I really enjoyed researching Doctors Without Borders and have been impressed by two unique features.
1. In order to preserve their independence, they do not take funding from governments, pharmaceutical companies, extraction companies (oil, natural gas, minerals), alcohol and tobacco companies, and arms manufacturers. As part of their commitment to independence they often speak out against governments and corporations responsible for harming the populace. While it has earned them a number of enemies and has sometimes gotten them kicked out of a country, they received a Nobel Peace Prize for not just their efforts to save lives but for speaking up for those people.
2. After the earthquake in Haiti, they stopped accepting donations. They recognized that they reached their capacity and more money would not allow them to do more work. I’ve never heard of any other charity doing this as charities usually believe they’ll figure out something important to do with that extra money.
Members can access the full report to help them make an informed decision.
Yay or Nay?
Will our members vote to donate the $300 in our Emergency Relief Fund to Doctors Without Borders to help them fight Ebola?
I don’t know. But I do know that I love that we are prepared to help out. We don’t have to look at our current tight budgets and wonder if we can help. We know we can help. The question is, “Do we and how?”
What Would You Do?
Leave a comment below. Would you donate to stop Ebola? Have you donated to stop Ebola