10 Organizations That Are Helping Fight Ebola

By Edward K. Chapnick

Whenever serious tragedies occur around the world, people and organizations from all corners of the globe always respond to the need for help, whether it be with funds, supplies, or manpower. Following are ten trusted organizations that are helping in West Africa in various ways.

Partners in Health

Partners In Health (PIH) is based in Boston, Massachusetts, and supports two grassroots organizations: Last Mile Health in Liberia and Wellbody Alliance in Sierra Leone. The organization trains health workers, strengthens medical clinics, and expands medical services beyond the urban centers. It also has formed rapid response teams to investigate remote areas where clusters of Ebola cases have appeared, and then execute care for sick patients, and education for the community.

Save the Children

Thanks in part to a large grant from philanthropist Paul G. Allen, Save the Children is focusing its efforts on the (according to UNICEF) 3,700 children who are orphaned because of Ebola. The organization works primarily in Liberia to trace relatives of the children and arrange for re-homing.

It also provides follow-up psychosocial services to make sure the child and family are doing well. Survivors of Ebola (and relatives of the dead) are often stigmatized by the community. Save the Children’s work combats that through programming and support that addresses violence and abuse.

Save the Children also is working to provide emergency education programs (including education by radio) in light of the local schools being shuttered from the epidemic.

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF)

Doctors Without Borders is the main organization providing medical care on the ground in West Africa. The organization has responded to more than 12 Ebola outbreaks since 1995. Doctors Without Borders began responding to the current West African outbreak in March 2014, where it has more than 3,000 people deployed to help the affected regions.

The organization operates six Ebola case management centers in West Africa and has cared for about 3,200 confirmed Ebola patients, in addition to caring for thousands of others who are sick. Additionally, it has shipped more than 1,019 tons of supplies to the affected countries since March.

CDC Foundation

The CDC Foundation, which is the nonprofit arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has deployed 160 staff members and 700 support staff to West Africa since July 2014.

Recently, the foundation received a $25 million donation from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan. The money has enabled the foundation to continue to build and manage an emergency operations center, which is essential to the success of the outbreak response.

Within these operations, it collects and monitors data to identify cases early, designs and enforces protocols for responding to cases, and coordinates various partner organizations on the ground.

The foundation also provides supplies and equipment, such as infection control tools, ready-to-eat meals, generators, vehicles, and supplies at airports (for instance, thermal scanners to detect fever).

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (IFRC) is the world’s largest humanitarian network, composed of almost 100 million members, volunteers, and supporters in 189 national societies. It provides five kinds of protection and assistance to people affected by disasters and conflicts in a totally neutral way (free of politics or religion): disaster relief, support for military families, blood supplies, health and safety services, and international services.

The IFRC has more than 7,700 volunteers and 170 Red Cross delegates in affected regions in West Africa, and the organization’s work will reach 39 million people. The Red Cross opened the first treatment clinic in Sierra Leone; it manages 100 percent of the burials in Guinea; and it trains health workers in disinfecting equipment, disposing of waste, and increasing public awareness, among many other tasks.

Americares

Americares supports the frontline healthcare workers through shipments of supplies. So far, it has shipped more than 3.6 million items of safety and treatment supplies, including 2.6 million units of protective gear and other supplies.

In addition, Americares helps map out containment strategies in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The organization needs support in the form of donations and volunteers, if you’re a healthcare professional.

CARE

CARE is working with community leaders to educate people about the signs of Ebola, how to report potential cases, where to go for treatment, and proper hygiene. CARE also distributes household hand-washing stations that include buckets, chlorine water, soap, gloves, and educational posters about Ebola prevention.

UNICEF

UNICEF’s focus is to support communities to protect themselves and to be able to access basic healthcare if any of their members contract Ebola. In Sierra Leone, UNICEF and partners have visited around 80 percent of all households in the country to give them educational material on Ebola and find any sick people.

The organization also has opened ten basic health facilities in rural parts of Sierra Leone, which makes early identification and access to healthcare more possible, which is vital in treatment, recovery, and prevention. UNICEF is also the largest supplier of the equipment for the response, including personal protective equipment (PPE).

UNICEF is also working to help children and young people who have been affected by Ebola in West Africa, and has sent emergency medical supplies to affected regions. The organization also worked to provide public education. One of its more unique programs is the outreach that it’s doing for visually impaired people. Together with the Sierra Leonean government, UNICEF has helped to develop Ebola messaging in Braille.

Emergency USA

Emergency USA has built the first and only fully functioning treatment center in Sierra Leone, and is currently trying to raise money to fund a larger 90-bed facility in the same location. Donations being raised now go to this initiative, as well as helping get medical supplies and materials to the treatment center’s staff of 200.

GlobalGiving’s Ebola Relief Fund

GlobalGiving is “an online marketplace that connects you to the causes and countries you care about.” Within this marketplace, you select the projects you want to support, make a donation, and get regular progress reports.

Currently, it has an Ebola Relief Fund that is quite extensive, beyond just the $1 million it has raised. Within the fund (and you see this on its website), GlobalGiving has all kinds of projects that the group is funneling funds to for the Ebola outbreak. The money goes to various kinds of local aid organizations and funds medical supplies, protective equipment, and educational campaigns.

What’s really interesting is that you can select which particular program or group you want your money to go to, and then later, you get updates from the field about how the program is doing.