Field Notes

Ebola's Exponential Impact

by: Meredith Maines
August 28, 2014

West Africa is reeling under the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history, which has already claimed more than 1,778 lives. New WHO estimates guess that as many as 20,000 cases could be reported over the course of the crisis. This approximation is staggering, and if we don’t act quickly, the epidemic’s consequences could far surpass infections.

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Even now, fears of food scarcity are mounting in Sierra Leone where farmers in quarantined areas can’t leave to tend fields. And even if they could travel, communal tasks like weeding rice fields are prohibited—anything that would bring groups together and spread infection.

Because of blockades, traders can’t deliver food to the markets. Some have shut down completely. The little food for sale elsewhere has doubled in price. Without adequate nourishment, more Africans will be susceptible to illness.

Ebola is keeping other diseases from being cured, too. Some health workers are afraid to accept new patients, so other ailments prevalent in the rainy season—like malaria, typhoid and the common cold—are going untreated and could increase the death toll.

In the midst of this spiraling crisis, our staff in Liberia and Sierra Leone are eager to join the fight. They know safe water and hygiene and sanitation initiatives are critical defenses against Ebola. But without them, repercussions could be exponential. Please help us equip our staff to do more! Learn how we’re planning to ramp up our operations in afflicted communities at Then make a donation to empower this critical work!


Published on August 28, 2014


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