It’s estimated that up to 1.4 million people could be infected by mid-January. At that scale, this monster threatens the entire world.
Three weeks ago, hundreds of thousands of us went offline to fight climate change. This week, we’re going offline to help stop Ebola.
The Ebola virus is spiraling out of control. Cases in West Africa are doubling every 2-3 weeks and the latest estimate says that up to 1.4 million people could be infected by mid-January. At that scale, this monster threatens the entire world.
Previous Ebola outbreaks have been repeatedly contained at small numbers. But the scale of this epidemic has swamped the region’s weak health systems. Liberia has less than 1 doctor for every 100,000 people. Governments are providing funds, but there just aren’t enough medical staff to stem the epidemic.
That’s where we come in. 39 million people are receiving this email. Our polling shows that 6% of us are health workers – doctors or nurses – that’s nearly 2 million of us. If just 120 doctors among us volunteer, it will *double* the number of doctors in Sierra Leone.
Other volunteers can help too — lab technicians, logisticians, water and sanitation workers, and transport workers. Volunteering means more than time. It means risk. Ebola is highly contagious. Health professionals have already died fighting it. But if there’s any group of people that would consider taking this risk for their fellow human beings, it’s our community. I and others on the Avaaz team are ready to take that risk with you, traveling to the front lines of this crisis.
Great things come from listening to the deepest voices within us. If you’re a health professional, or have other skills that can help, I ask you to take a moment, listen to the part of you that you most trust, and follow it.
Click below to volunteer, see messages from volunteers about why they’ve made this choice, and leave your own message of appreciation and encouragement for them:
Raising your hand to volunteer is the first step. You’ll need to get, and provide, a lot of information to ensure you’re well matched to an available position. You will likely need to discuss this decision with your loved ones, and you can withdraw from the process later if you choose to. For this effort, Avaaz is working with Partners In Health, Save the Children, and International Medical Corps, three of the leading organisations fighting this deadly disease. We are also consulting with the governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, and the World Health Organization.
While there is substantial risk, there are also clear ways to contain that risk. Ebola is spread by physical contact, so with extreme care, the risk of contracting it can be minimized. So far, 94 health care workers have died of Ebola in Liberia, but almost all of them have been national health workers, who sadly are far less well equipped than international volunteers. With treatment, the chances of surviving the virus are better than 50%.
Many of us, from police to activists to soldiers, have jobs that involve risking our lives for our country. It’s the most powerful statement we can make about what’s worth living for. Taking this risk to fight Ebola, makes a statement that our fellow human beings, wherever they are, are worth living for:
If Ebola spirals further out of control, it could soon threaten us all. The fact that a weak health care system in a small country can let this monster grow to a size that threatens the world is a powerful statement of just how interdependent we are. But this interdependence is far more than just interests. We are connected, all of us, in a community of human beings. All the lies that have divided us – about nation and religion and sexuality – are being torn down, and we are realizing that we really are one people, one tribe. That a young mother and her daughter in Liberia fear the same things and love the same things as a young mother and her daughter in Brazil, or the Netherlands. And in this unfolding understanding, a new world is being born. Out of the darkest places come our brightest lights. Out of the depths of the Ebola nightmare, let’s bring the hope of a new world of one people, willing to give, and sacrifice, for each other.
With hope and determination,
Ricken, John, Alice, Danny, and the whole Avaaz team.