If you are anything like us, you’re probably a little bit concerned and perhaps confused about what the hell is going on with Ebola right now. Up until now, we had only really heard of it in passing but currently in West Africa the Ebola outbreak has reached epidemic proportions and infection rates are doubling every 20 days. We wanted to give you the low down on what exactly Ebola is, what Oxfam Australia is doing to respond to the crisis and more importantly what you can do to help us stop it from getting worse.
Ebola is an acute, mostly fatal disease. Transmission of Ebola is through direct contact with blood/secretions of an infected person. There are no vaccines and incubation period ranges from 2 to 21 days. Not to scare you but if you are infected with Ebola the symptoms are acute and it is unfortunately mostly deadly. Now that’s no reason to go all American Fox News ‘we’re all gonna die’ on us, but it is reason enough to appreciate the danger of medical staff who are contributing to the humanitarian response. And it’s reason enough to find out what three ways you can assist, direct from your mobile phone.
Oxfam’s humanitarian response to the crisis mostly involves getting people urgent treatment, providing water for treatment and isolation centres and supplying protective equipment and hygiene kits. Each day, treating a single Ebola patient requires 52.8 gallons of water, 20 gallons of bleach, 8 pairs of rubber gloves and about 3 bodysuits. Much of the water, along with bleach, is used in hand and boot washing stations and disinfecting every surface that comes into contact with infectious fluids. There are three key countries we are working in – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. However our programs also are targeting neighbouring countries for prevention programs including mass public information campaigns over the radio.
As you can see the response is a costly one. People in West Africa are frightened. Ebola is a really scary virus. But we want to try and mitigate that fear and hysteria by providing information, prevention and medical assistance wherever we can to stop the spread before it becomes unmanageable. And because we need your help to do that so here are the top 3things you can do for the Ebola:
- Easy. Take a selfie with the #stopthespread hashtag and upload to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Sign the Oxfam Australia petition to tell Tony Abbott to act now on Ebola by donating time and much needed funds towards the humanitarian response.
- Donate yourself! Every dollar counts and if you can afford the extra change this week it really helps us to buy face masks, hygiene kits and other materials needed in the response.