The deadliest Ebola outbreak in history has devastated Western Africa. Over the past few weeks, more than 500 civilians have died, and many more have been quarantined. The virus itself has a long incubation period and may stay dormant in the body for several weeks before the infected party exhibits symptoms. This, along with high population densities and lowered sanitation, puts many countries at high risk of infection.
The outbreak itself began in Guinea and has subsequently spread to neighboring countries Liberia and Sierra Leone, where 41 new infections and 21 deaths have occurred over the past two days. Many of these have been skilled healthcare workers, leaving the afflicted communities with relatively few knowledgeable physicians. With an infection this profound spreading through regions that are simultaneously experiencing 95% unemployment rates, much of the work is taken over by young, untrained citizens. Psychologists have been sent in to aid those in grief over their lost loved ones, and help the adolescent-workers cope with what they have experienced during clean-up.
The Ebola virus began among insectivores in the Congo and spread to humans when they came in contact with tainted blood, typically during hunting. The virus, which is highly contagious for up to 7 weeks, quickly transferred to others through sexual contact and other fluid exchange. Ebola sickness and death are not clean- often consisting of vomit, blood, and foul smells. Many are traumatized by what they have witnessed during the outbreak. A new population of orphans has also sprung from the epidemic, with entire families contracting the disease from unprotected bodily contact and leaving young children in the custody of aid workers.
To limit the spread of this disease, traditional burials and physical contact have been restricted. The medical clinics are in desperate need for financial assistance to combat the rapidly spreading nature of Ebola. Drugs, medical expenses, protective clothing, and isolation centers are the only way to ensure this outbreak will end. There is already substantial detriment caused and the only combatants of further suffering we have are our financial support and medical resources.
Hands for Africa
Hands for Africa is a non-profit organization working to restore lost hope to those devastated by the civil war in Sierra Leone. We support amputee victims by developing and implementing self-reliance programs and providing the necessary aid for the advancement of these programs.