Nonprofits, Trade Groups Working to Contain Ebola Outbreak

With the rise of the worst Ebola outbreak in history, groups directly affected by the crisis in West Africa have ramped up their efforts in recent days to help contain the disease and ensure public safety.

As one of the most contagious diseases ever known continues its sweep across West Africa, nonprofits and industry groups are working to help contain the growing Ebola outbreak.

“The plain truth is that we can stop Ebola,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden said Sunday, according to The Washington Post. “We know how to control it.”

Here’s how aid groups and associations are responding:

Protecting aid workers on the front lines: The Peace Corps announced last week that it was temporarily removing 340 of its aid workers from the front lines. Samaritan’s Purse and SIM USA, two nonprofit missionary groups that have workers who contracted the disease—Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, respectively—are each working to evacuate nonessential personnel out of the affected regions due to security and health concerns. Brantly returned to the U.S. on Saturday via a private medical jet and is said to be improving; the plane will soon return to Liberia to pick up Writebol, SIM states on its website.

Reassuring travelers: The International Air Transport Association, which has dealt with a series of air-traffic crises in recent weeks, emphasized that its members—along with the United Nations-affiliated World Health Organization and International Civil Aviation Organization—are following appropriate guidelines. “The air transport industry has dealt with several outbreaks of communicable diseases in recent years,” the group said in a statement. “The global response to communicable diseases is governed by the WHO’s International Health Regulations. Airlines follow guidance material which has been developed by WHO, ICAO and IATA.” The three organizations are not recommending new trade or travel regulations at the moment, according to an ICAO statement.

Putting soccer on hold: The Liberian Football Association, which represents the sport in the country at the professional level, said it would cancel all activities until further notice. “Football being a contact sport—people are sweating—they do contact each other, and that could result in contracting the disease,” the group’s president, Musa Hassan Bility, told the BBC. “It also has to do with the fans, because whenever there is a game, a lot of people come together, and we want to discourage gathering at this point.” The organization also wants to postpone two upcoming visits planned by the leadership of FIFA, the sport’s international governing body. “We’ve asked FIFA to suspend both, because we do not want the life of the FIFA president to be exposed to this disease,” Bility added.

As of July 27, the World Health Organization had reported 1,323 suspected and confirmed cases of Ebola infection in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, including 729 deaths.

(photo via European Commission/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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