“The thing we need most is people….The right people, the right specialists, and specialists who are appropriately trained and know how to keep themselves safe.”
WHO Director General Margaret Chan in response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa
The current Ebola outbreak is the worst in history. As of October 27, 2014, the disease has spread to five countries in West Africa. Across Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone alone, there have been 13,676 cumulative cases and 4,910 deaths (1). If conditions continue to deteriorate, it has been estimated that the number of cases could quickly reach 20,000 in West Africa (2).
Ebola is spread by direct contact with bodily fluids of an infected individual through broken skin or mucus membranes. Early detection and treatment with fluid and electrolyte management provided by skilled health professionals can be lifesaving.
This crisis underscores the devastating consequences of severely under resourced health systems. Health professionals are central to effective health systems and critical to combating epidemics like Ebola. Seed’s mission is to help train a new generation of health educators and providers to build strong health systems that can not only help meet people’s basic health needs, but have the capacity and resilience to deal with crises like this one. As WHO Director General Margaret Chan said, “Money, materials are important but those alone could not stop the Ebola transmission… Human resources is most important…” (3). To tackle the current Ebola outbreak and to recognize and shut down future outbreaks, a well-coordinated and rapid scale up of skilled health professionals is required.
While Seed is not working in West Africa currently, we remain committed to the populations of those countries and to ensuring access to top-level health care for all. Seed is continuing to explore how to best support our colleagues in this effort. We are aligned with our fellow global health organizations working tirelessly in West Africa to fight this epidemic, such as:
For more information on the Ebola crisis:
World Health Organization (WHO): Ebola Global Alert & Response Page
US Centers for Disease Control (CDC): Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever Information Page
US Agency for International Development (USAID): Ebola Information Page
New York Times: Ebola Times Topic