The Urgent Need to Confront Ebola

The Ebola virus is ravaging West Africa. Months before the World Health Organization declared an emergency, Open Society’s foundation in West Africa, led by Abdul Tejan-Cole, began bolstering local efforts—most significantly, ensuring vital prevention messages were heard on community radio stations throughout the region. Abdul and his colleagues on the ground in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are personally grappling with the devastation of the people, their families, and communities wrought by the virus.

Ebola is more than a public health crisis. We’re worried about what the panic over Ebola is doing to the countries themselves. We’re worried about the inadequacy of the international response. And as Abdul says in the film, we’re worried about the severe governance challenges in West Africa that Ebola has exposed. While struggling to cope with the scale of the outbreak, entire health systems—already stretched—have collapsed. 

Open Society’s newest effort is a $4 million grant, which will in part go towards the building of a treatment center in Grand Gedeh County, one of Liberia’s most rural provinces. Over the coming weeks, Partners in Health and Last Mile Health will build a top-notch medical facility in the province—exactly where the need is greatest. If this test facility succeeds, institutions that can marshal the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to fight the outbreak—governments and multilateral institutions—will be able to direct that money toward a plan that works. We’re encouraged that the board of the World Bank has already authorized more than $200 million in grants for the crisis. 

As Abdul Tejan-Cole tells us in the film, it may take some time to turn the tide against Ebola, but the resilience and commitment of civil society remains strong. 

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Something very smart & effective must be done for these people!

The Coalition for Work with Psychotrauma and Peace (CWWPP) is prepared to work with the Open Society Foundations and others groups and individuals to develop and implement a program of psychological assistance, support, and self-sufficiency with regard to the Ebola crisis and in other places where there are issues with regard to the interaction between physical and mental health. Please contact us.

All the leadership of West African countries should join their forces so as to prevent further spread of this epidemic.

Ebola is really a big issue in Africa. Despite the resilience of CSOs in assisting the victims and non-victims alike, the challenge faced by all is the nature of the sickness against the poor health infrastructural development in the affected countries. The hunter becomes the hunted just because there is no weapon for the hunter to kill the prey. It is frustrating and one of the biggest challenges for the West African countries to fight Ebola.

Terrible...wishing the best to everyone involved in countering the Ebola crisis.

Mr Tejan Cole I must commend your brilliant exposition
towards the fight against this dreadful epidemic in these SubSahara Region that includes my beloved Sierra Leone. I am in that fight with you and so are many Patriotic Sierra Leoneans like you here in the diaspora.
Abdul you hit on key words that explains it all such Governance and Management in the affected Countries.

Dear All;
Let Me Take This Time In Commending You People For Job Well Done Thus Far, Most Especially Helping Us That Are Here In The Worst Hit Region (Liberia). I'm Deeply Concerned About The Continue Death Toll Here In Monrovia Due To This Epidemic, EBOLA. People Are Dying On A Daily Basis And The Situation Is Getting From Bad To Worst.

Like has been rightly put, one of the biggest outcomes from this outbreak is the way Health policies and structural-systemic weaknesses in Africa have been exposed. This outbreak has virtually wiped out the entire healthcare system in Liberia and Sierra Leone and has exposed the continent for her general unpreparedness. We need to rethink our approach to healthcare funding, whether it be around medical services or Public Health - there is need to reorganise ourselves.

Not only the leadership of West African Countries should join forces, but all leaders of all countries in the world and all people should be involved to overcome the epidemic. We should do everything we can. We live in one world.

Fabulous international efforts. The essence of global health justice.

We thank The Open Society Initiative for the many assistance given to the fight against the eradication of the disease. Civil Society Organizations should more than ever before encourage governments to improve the health governance systems in the three affected countries. It is clearly visible that because of the weak health systems in these countries, the virus is spreading rapidly and ravaging the population. The Liberia Freedom of Information Coalition (LFIC), is currently working with community and religious leaders, providing information on the prevention of the virus in some of the most affected communities, and also soliciting feedback from them the public health challenges,and necessary measures to address some of these challenges in the post - Ebola period. It is anticipated that These information will be shared with response actors in the health sector.

I join my colleagues in the civil society groups in appreciating the efforts of Open Society in this Ebola crises. I equally thank all stakeholders both nationally and internationally, who have consistently continued to support this worthwhile efforts. Governments in West Africa and other parts of Africa are seriously, advised to wake open and delve in the sphere of good governance- that would enable them promote and maintain enhanced and sustained quality living for their citizens.

My heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the Open Society initiative.....we are so grateful for such gestures.

Ebola outbreak should be reminder of the importance of good health/science journalism. Highlights the urgent need to close the gap in communication between scientists, journalists and communities.

At a meeting last night with scholar Stephanie Rupp, virologist/epidemiologist Ernest Drucker and Liberian journalist Nvasekie Konneh, we learned that it is impossible to understand the fast-moving spread of the virus without understanding the disruption of the ecology in Africa by the extractive industries which has lead to the virus jumping to non-traditional hosts which are then consumed by local residents who have not benefited from the extractive industries. Further, Ebola is very different than HIV/AIDS - mortality rate is almost half that of HIV - people don't talk much about the survivors but there are survivors.

God give his mercy for all west African countries and all for the world people.

We are an NGO Health Care Facility operating on the outskirts of Monrovia. According to the Ministry of Health demographic report, there have been NO cases of Ebola reported in the intended area for this treatment center. If this is the case wouldn't it be wiser to build it in an Ebola endemic area like in Montserrado, Margibi, or Loffa, Counties where most of the cases of infection and death are occurring?

Thanks for the effort, but we should make sure to meet the real needs of the affected countries. J

Thank you for your important question, Jacqueline.

We believe it’s vital to work with partners on the ground to develop community health workforces where they are needed. This project will capitalize on areas where Last Mile Health in Liberia and another partner, Wellbody Alliance in Sierra Leone, have existing networks of frontline health workers working at the primary care level, where the government indicated they would be keen to receive assistance, where trends warranted attention, and where no other organizations were currently providing similar support to health systems.

Marine Buissonniere
Director, Open Society Public Health Program

Thanks for such project. I am presently working on the same approach to have one in Monrovia In the Peace Island Community which has a total case load inhabitants of over 40 thousands people. And its a poor poorer community that has started reporting cases and death. I do welcome the ideas.

Thank you so much Abdul Tejan Cole for such a brilliant exposé on Ebola... stay blessed as we all unite to fight against it.

Thanks to open society foundation for its electroning governance media up, keep on with the awareness raising plus the other support that you are providing.

Thanks to all those who are contributing in fight for Ebola, do not get tired, keep it up and others should also join the fight.

This Foundation is really trying for the African People and the World at large. I pray that God will continue to help the founders, donors and all those working to make this happen.

People everyday are scared to speak up and help one another but isn't it better to take a risk than to bail out ur hopes of making a change? Why be afriad to speak out.. This quote keeps me motivated "what's the existence of human beings if one can't not simple help one another"? No dreams of Eveybody is the same, but a little change can keep one smiling for the rest of their lives. So much of us complain about wanting more and more but wht we don't realise is we should not take granted the things we already have, it is the smallest things we have that others would die for. Stand up, even if ur standing alone and make a difference.. Like Michael Jackson has once said, make it a better place for you and for me and the entire world.. My dream is makin a difference to Eveybody in the world but I know I can't do it all alone, take my hand and as we gather as one, we will see all the changes. Don't be afraid to speak up or make a little change, change is wht makes everybody happier who are less fortunate than us. I advice u to look around ur community and try and make this world a better place. "Do not fear for The Lord is with you, God has said, don't be afraid to take risks." Love one another as God has loved u, nobody is born racist or defined for their believes or cultures. Please help each other .. We can all make a difference if we work together :)

Message understood Mr. Tejan Cole. Yes, health is wealth and it is a human right!
But why is it taking international organizations so long to recruit volunteers from the Diaspora,
who are qualified, willing and ready to fill the gaps of much needed healthcare workers in their respective countries to help the fight against EVD?
The rigorous selection criteria practically excludes any healthcare worker with no SSA-NGO-affiliated experience (but equally qualified) to contribute to the human resources crisis the region is presently facing!
Extraordinary circumstances demand extraordinary measures, and in the case of Ebola, non-burocratic solutions!

We are very much grateful to the Open Society Foundations for the level of assistance they are rendering to the Ebola affected countries especially Liberia. this fight is not a fight that a single country can handle but the world, and individual can play their part in this warfare. in my community, I talk to my neighbors on a daily basis as to how they can prevent the spread of this deadly virus. I am willing to work with any organization to eradicate the virus from our countries.

Ebola outbreak should be reminder of the importance of good health / of the biggest outcomes from this outbreak is the way health polieces and Structural,systemic weekness in Africa have been Exposed. this outbreak has virtually wiped out the entire health care system in sierra Leone for her general unpreparedness.we need to rethink our approach to health care founding

Thanks Mr. T. J Cole and the Open Society foundation for that great effort for the people of Liberia, indeed there are lots of PUBLIC HEALTH challenges in Africa especially in the Mano River Countries...we hope Open Society foundation will extend similar assistance to the other two countries ie Sierra Leone and Guinea..

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