Let’s start with some facts:
- The first Ebola outbreaks occurred in Nzara, Sudan and Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1976.
- After that, there was an outbreak in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.
- Fruit bats are considered to be the natural hosts of the Ebola virus.
- The average Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) case fatality rate is around 50%. The case-fatality rate varies from 25 to 90 percent depending on the strain.
Recently, Ebola has made it’s way into the United States, causing terror among infected communities. If contracted, EVD is one of the world’ deadliest diseases (Source: MSF USA).
Earlier last month, the introductions of a government funding bill was circling around the US House of Representatives asking for $88 million more to battle Ebola and the announcement of a gracious $50 million donation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had been reported. This money is being used to help groups working on containing the disease.
A couple weeks ago, Doctors Without Borders (MSF USA), who have been battling the outbreak since March, asked for our help to send civilian and military supplies and personnel into West Africa to help. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the Ebola outbreak was in need of “nonconventional” interventions.
The new inflow of money fundings towards battling EVD are going towards helping the United States Army and their start to building field hospitals in the very near future. Despite, the new fundings and field hospital experts fear that the hospital facilities cannot be used until the proper number of staff members. The expectations for the amount of volunteer doctors and nurses needed in order to appropriately staff the new facilities are determined by the growing number of people contracting Ebola.
The amount of volunteers signing up to be sent to West Africa, to help fight the outbreaks, were close to none. Luckily within the past couple of weeks doctors and nurses have finally started stepping up. However, greater efforts need to be made in order to stop the spreading to EVD.
Dr. Joann Liu, president of Doctors Without Borders said, “As a result, thousands of people will die. I can’t say the exact figure because we don’t know how many unreported cases there are. But thousands for sure.” Since the summer months came and went with almost no volunteers at all and the time it takes to get volunteers to Africa and then trains, there still remains a yawning gap between the number of medical professionals needed and those in place to do the work. Each 100-bed hospital needs a staff of 400, about 40 of whom are foreign doctors or nurses. Meanwhile, about 600 Ebola cases are being recorded every week, according to WHO, and that number doubles every three weeks (Source: New York Times).
Recruiting international healthcare professionals as volunteers is hard work, though. People who are accepted must get permission to take six weeks off work and require visas and specialized training. The American military plans to train 500 health workers per week in Africa, if volunteers follow. Currently, Doctors Without Borders has accumulated 239 international volunteers, which isn’t bad but also isn’t nearly enough to help battle the Ebola outbreak.
If interested, please click HERE for the volunteer form provided by Doctors Without Borders and to learn more about stopping the Ebola Outbreak.