Target: Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon
Goal: Urge world leaders to fund treatment efforts to fight West Africa’s Ebola outbreak and develop a cure for the deadly virus
Three countries in West Africa are currently battling the worst outbreak of Ebola ever seen. The incredibly contagious virus, which causes fever, diarrhea and hemorrhaging, has killed at least 467 people so far and is showing no signs of slowing down. At an emergency meeting in Ghana the World Health Organization (WHO) asked for $10 million from the international community to fight Ebola over the next six months.
Ebola is one of the deadliest viruses in the world with up to a 90% fatality rate among those who contract it. While previous Ebola outbreaks have been centered in remote villages, the current epidemic is making its way through urban centers and transport hubs in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia making it especially difficult to trace transmissions and stop it from spreading.
Efforts by the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders are severely underfunded and some West African traditions and superstitions are hindering relief efforts. More education about transmission and treatment are needed to counteract the denial, superstitions and rumors that flourish among affected peoples. Many are understandably frightened of the disease while others believe that it does not exist, refusing treatment from foreign health workers while handling the corpses of deceased family members which continue to be highly contagious.
Without better education about infectious disease, improved health services, or a cure the epidemic could continue to spread throughout the region and beyond. Because the virus is mostly contained in developing African countries there appears to be little international urgency to find a cure or treat those in need.
While the United Nations has committed to helping coordinate relief efforts, this response will require a significant commitment of funds. Implore the United Nations (UN) to start an Ebola fund to promote education and treatment and to develop a cure that will eliminate the virus for good.
Dear Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,
The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the worst in the disease’s history. It has killed hundreds of people and infected hundreds more since the first confirmed case earlier this year. I am writing to thank the UN for committing to helping with relief efforts, and also to ask you and your colleagues to encourage member states to fund this crucial work.
Up until now Ebola outbreaks have been confined to remote villages in central Africa, but now the epidemic has spread to major cities. Although charities such as Doctors Without Borders and the Red Cross are courageously treating those with this highly contagious disease, risking their own health in the process, their resources are limited and they are often driven out by locals who see them as a hostile threat rather than a life-saving resource.
This disease strikes developing countries where many do not have access to formal education or health services. Please help the governments of these nations strengthen initiatives to educate the public about transmission and to urge the sick to seek treatment, and ensure that these programs are fully funded. Ebola is rare, but as this outbreak demonstrates it could become a larger problem in our increasingly globalized and connected world. Encourage the UN to fund efforts to develop a cure before the next outbreak occurs.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Dr. Lyle Conrad via Wikimedia Commons