Last week, I casually mentioned to my wife, “I spoke with volunteers at Doctors Without Borders today, and they need help.”
This was before the first case of Ebola was diagnosed on U.S. soil.
Doctors Without Borders is a nonprofit organization delivering emergency medical aid worldwide. About 30,000 staff in 70 countries serve more than 8 million people each year. And now they are amid their greatest challenge, the Ebola epidemic, undeniably the greatest medical catastrophe of the year, possibly the decade. Without a concerted global effort, it could well become the worst epidemic in our lifetimes.
As of September 14, we have more than 4,000 cases with 2,296 deaths in five countries. On September 30, the first U.S. case of Ebola was diagnosed, in Dallas. Experts are optimistic we will be able to contain its spread here, at least for now.
But, over time, the Ebola epidemic may become endemic — like HIV has become.
Ebola is more devastating than HIV because there is no treatment and because, unlike other infectious diseases, it kills more than 50 percent of the people it infects in less than a month.
Like most Americans, I don’t know a single person who has been affected, and I don’t feel a sense of urgency that a disaster of this magnitude requires. In fact, I feel helpless and at times hopeless at the situation. More so, at this time in my life, I don’t have the courage to go to Africa and volunteer.
But what I realized I can do is support those who do have the courage. Doctors Without Borders has an army of 2,000 local workers with 200 international staff who are on the ground in West Africa. They need gloves, gowns, masks for their own protection and they need simple medicines, saline, oxygen and antibiotics for the patients. All this costs money.
To stop the epidemic here we must stop the epidemic there. There is something we can all do. We can donate a small amount not just as individuals but also as a community. In part it may be self-interest, that we do not want the virus to spill from overseas on our continent in large numbers. In part it may be compassion, doing our part to avert a preventable disaster. Whatever the reason, every donation is important.
My wife and I are committing $1,000, and so are leaders from Baptist, Methodist and Saint Francis hospitals.
Now, we are asking for your help. Let’s pool our resources together and reach a goal of a $10,000 donation from Memphis to Doctors Without Borders. The website is doctorswithoutborders.org/donate
A $50 donation from 200 readers can help achieve our goal.
Source : Commercial Appeal