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Monday
Sep292014

We Have to Be More than "Entertained" By Suffering: Why We're Raising Money for Africare

I'm raising money for Africare, one of many organizations fighting Ebola in West Africa. I signed up with Africare to be an Africare Champion. I set a modest goal of $1000 and as of the writing of this post, we're $415 away from our goal thanks to contributions from members of our Facebook community. You can donate directly to Africare on our Africare Champions campaign page.

I decided to raise money after I learned that 3 out of 4 people infected with Ebola are women. I wanted to do more than just be "entertained" by other people's suffering.By that I mean, the tendency of online audiences to gravitate towards every calamity, crisis and outrage. Hit the like, share, or retweet button -Lament how awful things are and then go on with their lives, doing nothing, while the objects of their laments continue to suffer.  I don't want to do that anymore.

That's something that I hope has distinguished this blog over the past 8 years. Sure, we whine and complain with the best of them, but every once in a while this blog audience does what it can to change what it can. We won't stop an epidemic alone, but we can save at least one life by making sure that those who are brave enough to tend to the sick, have personal protective equipment.

Africare posted a message on our Facebook Fan Page about where the money will go:

Currently, all unrestricted money raised is being directed to Ebola. What does that mean? It might mean direct cash contributions to families who have lost loved ones, and thus lost income which sustained an entire family. It might mean paying for gas for our staff in Liberia to deliver personal protective gear to healthcare workers in more remote locations. It might include equiping microphones and sound systems to trucks to blast messages to communities about ebola, educating them on methods of contraction and prevention. It might include working with local organizations to trace individuals who have come in contact with disease.WAOD FB Fan Page.

Give what you can. Thanks in advance!

Some Background

On August 20th, I shared an article over on the WAOD Facebook Page called "Ebola is Mostly Killing Women and No One is Talking About it."  According to  Elizabeth Plank, 75% of those infected with Ebloa are women.

In one of the most affected countries, 3 out of 4 patients affected by Ebola have one thing in common: They're all women. As reported by Lauren Wolfe at Foreign Policy, the Liberian government announced that 75% of those infected are female.

Why are women dying? Their vulnerability to the disease isn't rooted in biological dispositions; it's purely structural. They are caring for the sick, and it's literaly killing them. Identities.Mic

Over a month later and people still aren't talking about it.Entire hospital staffs are being decimated when multiple  nurses die and some of the leading infection control experts in countries with already fragile health infrastructure are dying too.The New York Times published an article about the devestating impact Ebola is having on nurses and the young men who bury the bodies of the dead.

Not only are they at risk for Ebola, but they are watching their colleagues die around them AND on top of it all, their friends relatives and neighbors are ostracizing them... for being brave enough to treat the sick.

Outside the hospital, they continue to face stigma. Some of Ms. Sellu’s staff spoke of husbands abandoning them and neighbors shunning them. One nurse told of returning home to find her belongings in suitcases on the sidewalk, and her spouse warning her to stay away. Another nurse, seeking lodgings, lied to the landlord, telling him she was a student. NY Times

 

In doing their jobs, the burial boys have become pariahs. Many have been cast out of their communities because of fear that they will bring the virus home with them. Some families refuse to let them return. NY Times

But that's not the only reason we should care about the current ebola outbreak. Even though it is an ocean away, there are two scary scenarios that are looming A) political instability in West Africa and B) every time the virus infects a new person, there is a possibility that it mutates and what now requires skin to skin contact or contact with infected fluids could eventually mutate and be transmitted through the air.

THE Ebola epidemic in West Africa has the potential to alter history as much as any plague has ever done.  

There are two possible future chapters to this story that should keep us up at night.

The first possibility is that the Ebola virus spreads from West Africa to megacities in other regions of the developing world. .....

The second possibility is one that virologists are loath to discuss openly but are definitely considering in private: that an Ebola virus could mutate to become transmissible through the air. You can now get Ebola only through direct contact with bodily fluids. But viruses like Ebola are notoriously sloppy in replicating, meaning the virus entering one person may be genetically different from the virus entering the next. The current Ebola virus’s hyper-evolution is unprecedented; there has been more human-to-human transmission in the past four months than most likely occurred in the last 500 to 1,000 years. Each new infection represents trillions of throws of the genetic dice.NYTimes

I've been following the story since early summer on my own, but I don't recall receiving a single email about it - and I receive a ton of email.

The Ebola Leadership Gap- Politico

Thos Who Serve Ebola Victims Soldier on - NY Times

Reader Comments (2)

@Blogmother

Here is another nightmare for you: the US government being unprepared for an ebola outbreak.

The Washington Times reports the first confirmed case of Ebola in America, specifically a Dallas hospital. Doctors as well as concerned politicians fear their warnings of government preparation for a pandemic still aren't being heeded.

["People say that Ebola looks “so far away, it’s so remote,” said Dr. J. Scott Ries, vice president of Christian Medical & Dental Associations, who worked with Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Bradley, who contracted the disease while treating Ebola patients in Liberia. “Well now, anyone who has thought that will change their opinion. It’s here, like we predicted, and it’s time to massively ramp up our efforts to address this.”]

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/sep/30/after-first-ebola-case-fears-turn-us-pandemic-prep/

September 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFred

Yeah I saw that Fred. In my home state. Talk about hitting home. This thing is going to go global soon if they don't figure something out in West Africa.

October 5, 2014 | Registered CommenterThe Blogmother

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