Ebola Fast Turning into a Global Health Crisis
CONAKRY-FREETOWN-MONROVIA - The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is threatening to become a global health crisis endangering a vast population, warns humanitarian organization Plan International.
The deadly disease has so far killed 481 people across Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone out of 779 cases. Eight other countries in the region remain on high alert as porous borders have allowed infected people to move the disease to new locations.
“The way Ebola is rapidly spreading, it is no longer a regional health crisis. The threat of the disease spinning out of control now extends far beyond the borders of some of the poorest nations it is currently ravaging,” said Dr. Unni Krishnan, Plan’s Head of Disaster Preparedness and Response.
Plan is calling for a coordinated emergency response across the region with active involvement and support from the international community.
The response to the deadliest Ebola outbreak to date has been impacted by inadequate initial assessments and fragile health systems of affected nations.
“There has been a gross misjudgment across the board in gauging the severity and scale of damage the current Ebola outbreak can unleash. If the international community does not rush to West Africa’s support immediately, we are looking at a dangerous scenario," said Adama Coulibaly, Plan’s Regional Director for Central and West Africa.
Plan works in all three affected countries and is responding on the ground supporting the local governments, particularly in the area of public health information and providing material support to contain the spread of the disease.
Ebola is one of the most virulent diseases known to mankind which spreads through contact with an infected person's bodily fluids. There is no vaccine or cure for the disease and it kills up to 90 percent of those infected.
“People are scared, desperate, and worried. The fresh wave of Ebola deaths has increased their fear and feeling of hopelessness,” said Gbaka Sandouno, Plan’s program unit manager in the Guinean town of Gueckedou, which is the epicenter of the current outbreak with 130 confirmed Ebola deaths so far.
Rumors are also rife on the ground making an already challenging response even more complicated. In some cases, local mobs have attacked health workers forcing emergency centers to close.
- Founded in 1937, Plan is one of the world’s oldest and largest children's development organizations. Plan works in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia, and the Americas to promote child rights and lift millions of children out of poverty. Plan is independent, with no religious, political, or governmental affiliations.
- Plan has been working in Guinea since 1989, helping poor children to access their rights to education, health, sanitation, and protection. The organization has 34,000 sponsored children spread over 65 communities across the country.
- Plan has been working in Sierra Leone since 1976, helping poor children to access their rights to education, health, livelihood, sanitation, and protection. Plan’s programs benefit 7,000 children in 1,126 communities across the country.
- Plan started working in Liberia since 1982. The organization works in partnership with the communities and the government to ensure poor children have access to quality education, good health, and adequate sanitation, and that they are well protected. Plan has 12,250 sponsored children spread over 176 communities in its program areas.
About Plan International USA
Plan International USA is part of the Plan International Federation, a global organization that works side by side with communities in 50 developing countries to end the cycle of poverty for children and their families. Plan works at the community level to develop customized solutions and ensure long-term sustainability. Our solutions are designed up-front to be owned by communities for generations to come and range from clean water and health care programs to education projects and child protection initiatives. For more information, please visit www.PlanUSA.org.