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Oct. 8, 2014

Aid to Ebola-afflicted countries is not enough

by Kalin Vassilev, Technical Staff
What may be the world's worst Ebola outbreak could soon spin out of control. Though official records have close to 6,000 confirmed infected over the course of the outbreak, experts believe that due to people trying to cover up the illness, as many as 20,000 have actually become sick. The CDC projects that based on current disease progression, in the next 4 months anywhere from 500,000 to 1.4 million people will become infected. The spread of Ebola should spark worldwide concern; however, most countries seem to be underestimating the severity of the crisis.

The emergency centers of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea have found it difficult to cope with the disease. The countries each have a single doctor per 10,000 people which, compared to the United States' 122 health-care workers per 10,000, is woefully inadequate. Promises of aid have been seeping in from across the globe, yet so far the afflicted countries have not seen much progress. If the aid were to arrive it would still not be enough to control the epidemic.

Western countries have pledged 737 beds, yet that is 2,100 beds short of what is needed. Two hundred local health-workers have already perished trying to help their patients, which brings the number of needed doctors to 2,000. The World Health Organization (WHO) has managed to ship about 240,000 protective suits a month, while Liberia alone requires close to 1.3 million protective suits to ensure the safety of its doctors.

The international community has been sluggish in responding to requests from the three afflicted countries. It has had several months to watch this progression yet has done very little to combat it. At times, countries' policies have even proved directly detrimental to the situation, including a reluctance to evacuate and treat African doctors who contract the disease.

Galvanizing and focusing efforts to halt the spread of Ebola is necessary to make sure that the disease stops taking the lives of West African citizens, and does not eventually turn into a global epidemic. The United States recently had its first case.

At this point, eradicating Ebola needs to be the top priority of most Western countries, seeing as they have more than enough resources combat the disease. Ebola poses an imminent worldwide threat and this must be realized this before it is too late.



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