For several weeks, we have been closely monitoring the Ebola crisis in West Africa and watching for ways we can help.
Yesterday in Washington, the head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, said at a news conference that to date there have been at least 3,500 Ebola cases, with more than 1,900 deaths. She called the outbreak “the largest and most severe and most complex we’ve ever seen in the nearly 40-year history of this disease.”
Last week Nothing But Nets received an urgent request from our partner, the MENTOR Initiative, to help fight malaria in the region. Liberia is in a state of emergency due to the Ebola outbreak and, not surprisingly, the toll of the disease is now compounding other perennial health threats: especially malaria. The similarity in symptoms between malaria and Ebola (fever and vomiting) are leading to misdiagnosis and the very real threat of increased malaria deaths, alongside the climbing Ebola death toll.
In fact, our partners at Roll Back Malaria are sending several staff to West Africa to assess existing country capacity to ensure that malaria cases are being properly detected, and not going untreated in the haste to identify Ebola.
Dr. Jimmy Whitworth, the head of population health at the UK-based health foundation the Wellcome Trust, told The Independent: “I’d expect there would be far more [excess] people dying from malaria than from Ebola.” Up to 100,000 can die from malaria in the region in an average year, Dr. Whitworth said.
In other words, the situation there is critical, so I am asking for your help. Please donate now.
MENTOR is currently supporting a network of mobile health clinics in Bomi County in the rural western part of Liberia. These clinics are serving everyone who can reach them and helping the Liberian government continue to address malaria while identifying cases of Ebola during this national emergency. While our UN partners are ramping up the fight against Ebola, this is an area in which we can make a difference.
If we provide MENTOR with emergency funding support, we will make it possible for community health workers to reach communities and provide critical malaria prevention, as well as diagnostic and treatment services. Please, help us fund community health workers to ensure malaria deaths don’t skyrocket in the face of the Ebola crisis.