Ebola calls for more aid


Michelle Wong


According to the most recent article in the International Business Times, the disease quickly devastating West African countries known as Ebola has killed over 2,000 people out of 4,000 reported cases. Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have been hit the hardest, both physically and economically, and it has only spread from there.

Senegal has just reported its first Ebola patient, and the Democratic Republic of Congo has had its own strain for a long time. Israel, the U.S., Spain, Britain and Thailand have been looking into their own potential cases.

There’s no denying that Ebola is a global crisis, but so far fear of contamination has helped assure that no real solutions are reached. If there is any solution to be found, I believe that we’re going to have to work hard as fellow nations to find it.

So far Senegal, South Africa and Kenya have responded to the epidemic by sealing off their borders to residents of the Ebola zones. Obviously, this makes a lot of sense in that it keeps the disease confined to one area.

On the other hand, it’s a little more complicated than that. Creating firm border restrictions is problematic because it blocks off potentially life-saving supplies from Dakar, where most of the international humanitarian agencies are located.

Because of this, more and more people are dying as countries are attempting to care for their own. Meanwhile the disease continues to spread, only with increased suffering and deprivation. It makes sense to place border restrictions to an extent, but it shouldn’t be to the extent where humanitarian organizations cannot deliver needed health care supplies.

These programs should be the exception to the rule. There needs to be a more collective effort between countries to work together to stop this deadly aggressor.

On our side of the pond, there have been a few new efforts put into motion. At the beginning of August, Canada’s National Microbiology Lab stated it would donate between 800 and 1,000 doses of an experimental vaccine. More recently yet, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is working to create a government contract for over 42 million dollars to aid Mapp Pharmaceutical Inc., who is working on their own experimental Ebola virus vaccine.

It’s great to see more countries outside of the African continent who finally want to get involved in the issue.

Still, I still feel that improvements would happen at a faster rate if we worked in conjunction with each other. It would be even better if more countries would see the need for action and then we could all make a cohesive effort.

We know the enemy (disease), but we fail to realize that fear, hysteria and stigma are obstacles that are as equally dangerous. The more countries that realize this is a global issue and the urgency we need to get it under control, the better. We need to work together if any solution is to be found, and if any hope is to be given to those affected.