Fighting Ebola on the Ground Level: With Plastic Gloves and Chlorine

The Situation on the Ground in West Africa

BBC News, "Ebola Crisis: A Doctor's View from Sierra Leone"
BBC News, “Ebola Crisis: A Doctor’s View from Sierra Leone,” http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28852352.

Many of us have closely followed the stories about the spread of Ebola in West Africa and particularly the miraculous story of Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol in their battle with the deadly virus. We may have wondered helplessly how we could combat the raging virus, which experts believe can be transmitted to humans by fruit bats and other carriers. Journalists on the ground have identified several surprisingly simple and cost-effective options for concerned readers.

The Wall Street Journal published a poignant piece, simply titled, “Ebola Virus: For Want of Gloves, Doctors Die.” The piece opens, “Rubber gloves were nearly as scarce as doctors in this part of rural Liberia,” and describes how concerned doctors would substitute plastic bags or even use their bare hands in their quest to heal sick patients. Sadly, many did not realize the patients had Ebola until too late. The lesson: “Much of this toll could have been avoided or at least mitigated, hospital workers on the front lines say, if they had been provided with medical basics, starting with one of the simplest: disposable rubber gloves.”

From Our Sources in the Field

We have heard this same refrain from those involved with the fight against Ebola in Guinea, West Africa. When we contacted Compassion Evangelical Hospital there about ways to mitigate the dangers of the virus, the hospital administrator echoed the same need. He reported that, “Since the onset of the epidemic, the consumption of chlorine in the hospital, in gloves, and other personal protective equipment has greatly increased” and requested a six month supply of chlorine and rubber gloves for the staff, who are increasingly concerned about protection from the virus.

The six month supply will cost approximately $2000.

Compassion Evangelical Hospital, Guinea
Compassion Evangelical Hospital, Guinea

Taking Action: Buying Gloves and Chlorine

While we are continuing our project with the local eye technicians in Burundi, we would love to be able to provide for Compassion at this critical moment. We have opened up a PayPal account through which we can accept online donations (as we are now an official 501(c)(3)) or checks that are mailed to our permanent address. (To donate online, visit here.) For more information, check out our website and Facebook page.

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