How in our modern day, does a virus such as Ebola take hold and create chaos, infecting over 13,000 and killing over 4,8002?
The answer is, as always, in the numbers, specifically in the case of infrastructure.
Did you know that Liberia and Sierra Leone each only have approx. one doctor per 100,000 people; Guinea, 10 doctors for the same population size? Compare that to the United States; where each state has between 200-400 doctors per 100,000 people, and you begin to see how a simple virus in the U.S. can completely uproot a region like West Africa.
At the One Young World Summit 2014 in Dublin, a group of One Young World delegates, including myself, rallied around a Liberian delegate who was prevented from travellingdue to the outbreak. Despite his inability to attend, the delegate, Abel Williams Cheayan,had one issue he wanted heard, the urgent need for Ebola funding in West Africa.
From this passionate request, our dedicated group got to work, creating the One Young World Ebola petition, collecting signatures from over half the Summit delegates and our networks. I was humbled to present the petition to the United Nations during the Summit. It was then delivered to the World Health Organization (W.H.O) on behalf of One Young World. Additionally, we hosted a march against Ebola that occurred on the last day of the Summit.
Our message was simple. Send funds immediately to West Africa to ensure that every sick individual has access to a bed at a treatment facility and the respite from the fear of killing their loved ones by spreading the virus. The funding for infrastructure, doctors and protective equipment is the only viable solution if we are going to end this crisis.
This message was repeated again and again at the international level.
On 14 October, W.H.O predicted the number of new Ebola cases could reach 10,000 per week by December, also reporting that only 22% of the 4,707 beds needed are in place, with the biggest obstacle to opening more being a lack of skilled staff. They have pleaded for additional funding to overcome this need as simply to open up one treatment center with 50 – 120 beds requires. 25 - 35 international health care workers and 200 - 250 national staff. This does not take into account the need for protective equipment, the cost of building the facility and the cost of body disposal, among other things.
We know the answer is to provide these basic health care services to the most affected areas, and yet the United Nations alone still needs $700 million beyond what has been pledged by the international community to meet these needs.
In the words of the esteemed Kofi Annan,“when the leaders fail to lead, we the people have to make them follow”. At the Dublin Summit, Ambassadors exhibited a passion to get involved in the fight against Ebola, here is one way you can act on that passion.
Band Aid 30
Thirty years ago, Sir Bob Geldof heard the plea of the thousands dying in Ethiopia and founded the original Band Aid, designed to gather relief funds and promote awareness of famine in Ethiopia. $240 million later, Sir Bob is re-inventing the Band Aid classic, this time to raise funds for the Ebola fight in West Africa. Sir Bob Geldof passionately addressed the issue of Ebola at the Summit stating, “They are not dying of this filthy little disease in West Africa. They are dying because they are poor.” Band Aid 30 is his answer to this pressing concern; bringing together stars such as One Direction, Adele, Coldplay and Ellie Goulding to lend their voices to the Ebola crisis and promote global awareness. All funds from the single will go toward tackling Ebola West Africa, so pre-order the single now or buy it on its release date, 17 November!
Ambassadors, spread the word
While you may not be able to go to West Africa to volunteer your services as a health worker, nor donate $10 million dollars to Medicine Sans Frontiers, you CAN download this song.
1) Donate today for the chance to attend the recording of the new single. All the information on how to donate can be found at Bandaid30.com
2) Preorder the Do single.
3) Share the campaign! Think creatively about using your voice and platform to spread this important message.
What we ask is simple. Spread the word about the Band Aid 30 single and the need for continued funding to stop the Ebola crisis. For as Sir Bob said, "It really doesn't matter if you hate this song or you don't like this song, you have to buy this thing."
Act now, because for many there may not be a tomorrow left to wait for.