Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Health workers

This article was posted in October 2014 by Ricken Patel. Just a reminder of our Covid-19 pandemics and how the world community is fighting it.

Ebola, Covid-19…: Pandemics vs People

Ebola could threaten us all, and the most urgent need to stop it is for volunteers.
If just 120 doctors among us volunteer, it will *double* the number of doctors in Sierra Leone. Other volunteers – in health, sanitation, logistics – can help too.
This is a call to serve humanity in the deepest possible way, to accept serious risk for our fellow human beings.

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.

Talking about exponential growth is frightening

At that scale, this monster threatens the entire world.

I just read that the UN has only $100,000 in its fund for the Ebola outbreak

Mind you that AIDS harvest over 1.5 million each year (as much as Malaria and Dysentery combined).

Though, malaria is the number one disease followed by dysentery that put heavy burden on the States in Africa and Equatorial countries.

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.

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.

Health professionals have already died fighting Ebola.

But if there’s any group of people that would consider taking this risk for their fellow human beings, it’s our community.

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.

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 through bodily fluids, 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 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.

Note:  See the video

Fighting Ebola street by street

Good people are all around the globe! Disasters too –

Thanks Ben C. Solomon for this great video about ‪#‎ebola‬ –
Sean Casey makes me think of u and all the great work u and ur colleagues are doing!http://www.nytimes.com/video/world/africa/100000003161313/fighting-ebola-outbreak-street-by-street.html?playlistId=100000003105684&region=video-grid&version=video-grid-headline&contentCollection=Ebola+Outbreak&contentPlacement=0&module=featured-videos&action=click&pgType=Multimedia&eventName=video-grid-click

More information:

Up to 1.4m people could be infected with Ebola by January, CDC warns (The Guardian)
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/23/ebola-cdc-millions-infected-quarantine-africa-epidemi…

Known Cases and Outbreaks of Ebola Virus Disease, in Chronological Order (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/history/chronology.html

Ebola ‘devouring everything in its path’ (Al Jazeera)
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2014/09/ebola-devouring-everything-path-201499161646914388.html

Ebola death rates 70% – WHO study (BBC)
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29327741

Unprecedented number of medical staff infected with Ebola (WHO)
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/ebola/25-august-2014/en/

Cuba sent early on more Health workers to Ebola afflicted West Africa than the USA did

What Guatemala, Pakistan, Indonesia, Haiti share?

These 4 different nations suffered calamities in the past decade: they were all struck by natural disasters which overwhelmed their under-staffed and under-funded public health systems.

Into the rubble, flooding, and chaos of these distinct cultures and contexts, Cuba dispatched a specialized disaster and epidemic control team to support local health providers.

It was a story of unprecedented medical solidarity by a developing country which few media outlets picked up – until now.

Conner Gorry in Havana posted in the Guardian Professional, Thursday 23 October 2014

Raul Castro and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the summit on Ebola in Havana
What can the governments of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia learn from Raul Castro’s health policies? Photograph: Xinhua/Landov/Barcroft Media

The Henry Reeve Brigade, as it’s known, was established in 2005 by more than 1,500 Cuban health professionals trained in disaster medicine and infectious disease containment; built on 40 years of medical aid experience, the volunteer team was outfitted with essential medicines and equipment and prepared to deploy to US regions ravaged by Hurricane Katrina (the offer was rejected by the Bush administration). Today, Cuba’s Henry Reeve Brigade is the largest medical team on the ground in west Africa battling Ebola.

The small island nation has pledged 461 doctors and nurses to provide care in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the largest single-country offer of healthcare workers to date.

While United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon decried the pallid aid commitment from around the globe calling for “a 20-fold resource mobilisation and at least a 20-fold surge in assistance” Cuba already had 165 of these specially-trained healthcare workers on the ground in Sierra Leone.

Each of these volunteers, chosen from a pool of 15,000 candidates who stepped forward to serve in west Africa, has extensive disaster response experience.

Preparation for this mission required additional, rigorous training at Havana’s Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine with biosecurity experts from the United States and the Pan American Health Organisation.

This rapid mobilisation of sorely-needed health professionals begs the question: how can a poor developing country spare qualified, experienced doctors and nurses?

By pursuing a robust medical education strategy, coupled with a preventive, community-based approach, Cuba, a country of just 11.2 million inhabitants, has achieved a health picture on par with the world’s most developed nations.

This didn’t happen overnight. Rather, Cuba’s admirable health report card results from decades of honing a strategy designed specifically for a resource-scarce setting.

By locating primary care doctors in neighbourhoods and emphasising disease prevention, the health system – which is universal and free at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels – makes care accessible and keeps people as healthy as possible, as long as possible, saving resources for more expensive treatments and interventions in the process.

But prevention and health promotion by community-based healthcare workers are only part of the story. Cuba’s policies and practices, both at home and abroad (currently more than 50,000 Cuban health professionals are serving in 66 countries) are built on several principles proven effective in resource-scarce settings.

First, coordinating health policies at the local, regional, and national levels is essential; this is particularly important where infectious diseases are concerned since uniform protocols are integral to containment.

Next, health initiatives must be cross-sectoral and based on integrated messages and actions. A fragmented, uncoordinated response by and among different agencies can prove dangerous and even deadly.

This was tragically illustrated by the death of Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas and the US Centers for Disease Control allowing a nurse who has Ebola to travel on a commercial flight.

Finally, infectious disease outbreaks must be addressed quickly – easier said than done in poor settings, where public health systems are already strained or collapsing already.

The Ebola outbreak snaps the need for Cuba’s approach into sharp relief: only a coordinated response, provided by well-trained and – equipped primary healthcare professionals will contain this – and future – epidemics.

Indeed, policymakers such as World Health Organisation’s Margaret Chan and US secretary of state John Kerry have lauded the Cuban response, underscoring the importance of collaboration as the only solution to this global health crisis.

Forging this solution, however, requires harnessing the political will across borders and agencies to marshal resources and know-how. Havana took up the challenge by hosting a special Summit on Ebola with its regional partners and global health authorities on 20 October.

Noticeably absent were US health representatives; if we’re to construct a comprehensive, integrated, and effective global response, all resources and experiences must be coordinated and brought to bear, regardless of political differences. Anything less and Ebola wins.

Conner Gorry is senior editor of Medicc Review. Follow @ConnerGo on Twitter.


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