The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called on Sept. 2 for a heightened and accelerated international response to combat the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a statement that "the window of opportunity to stop Ebola from spreading widely throughout Africa and becoming a global threat for years to come is closing, but it is not yet closed." He called on nations worldwide to join the United States in support of the World Health Organization's appeal for $490 million for emergency response, infection control and training and education in affected countries.
In the days prior to his statement, Frieden visited Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, three of the four nations with confirmed cases and deaths from the disease during this outbreak. Nigeria was the fourth affected nation as Catholic Health World went to press. The World Health Organization, in partnership with the Ministries of Health in those countries, reported a total of suspected and confirmed cases at 3,069 including 1,552 deaths in late August.
Frieden said, "I wish every world leader could see what I have seen. Stopping this outbreak is more than any one nation can do."
Springfield, Ill.-based Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach, a nonprofit ministry of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, made an urgent request in early September to the 60 hospitals and 18 clinics it works with in Illinois and Wisconsin for specific supplies requested by the CDC, including personal protective gear for caregivers: impermeable gowns, shoe covers that extend up to the knee, eye protection, masks, gloves and also linens.
The organization's executive director Georgia Winson said Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach has years of experience working with the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka in southeast Nigeria. She said the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Rotary International's District 6450 in River Forest, Ill., partner with the mission outreach organization on education initiatives and health care initiatives in the Nsukka region. Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach sends shipments to an area with an established medical supply distribution system. The organization sent three shipping containers of medical supplies to Nigeria last year. It currently has plans to send three additional containers of supplies and is collecting specific supplies and financial contributions for the expanded effort. More information is available at mission-outreach.org
In its brochure, Disaster Response: Considerations for Catholic Health Care, CHA encourages financial contributions to allow relief agencies to purchase exactly what is needed when it is needed. For more on disaster relief visit: chausa.org/internationaloutreach/disaster-relief.
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