Article by: Gitika Bose
Photograph from http://thefeatheredflounder.com/
When times get tough, no matter the problem, people must learn to support each other. In West African countries – primarily Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea – the Ebola virus is devastating entire communities. For those infected by the disease, the danger of death is imminent; therefore, endless efforts are taking place to ensure the safety of people susceptible to the disease and to hopefully find a cure.
The virus, spread through contact with an infected body or contaminated surface, causes damage to the immune system and organs ultimately leading to decreased levels of blood-clotting cells. Earlier the disease was quite rare; however, Sami Yenigun, education producer at NPR, declares that, “the number of Ebola cases and deaths in Lofa County has skyrocketed in recent months.”
Doctors Without Borders is one of the many active organizations dedicated to treating and containing this disease. Generally, Doctors Without Borders treats patients by giving them support therapy whilst dealing with other complications. Doctors and volunteers have recognized their endeavors to be extremely risky; however, they believe the value of their efforts outweigh the risk of contamination.
According to ISM student and aspiring doctor, Karen Tokeshi, “It is very dangerous because many people are still affected by [the virus]… it seems as if they aren’t doing enough.” So, what more can doctors do? Many organizations are working to create vaccines that could put a complete end to this epidemic, although not all vaccines have yet been fully tested. Hence, research must be taken to a higher level; doctors working in contaminated areas should be given proper attire, allowing them full protection from the dangers of their work. The conditions of the infected areas themselves in West Africa must be improved for better sanitation and hygiene so the virus does not spread as easily.
To conclude, fighting a virus as harmful as the Ebola can be extremely difficult and even perilous. However, acknowledging the problem and working together is the key solution, just like the Doctors Without Borders volunteers. Even though it feels as though we, as students, are helpless and have no influence in this matter, we must realize the value of every small donation (link found below) or contribution. As Jim Beaver mentioned in the novel, “Life’s That Way: A Memoir”, “Today we fight. Tomorrow we fight. The day after, we fight. And if this disease plans on whipping us, it better bring a lunch, ’cause it’s gonna have a long day doing it.”
Donate here: https://donate.doctorswithoutborders.org/onetime.cfm