In response to the world’s deadliest Ebola epidemic to date, Direct Relief is sending emergency shipments of urgently requested medicines and supplies to its partner Wellbody Alliance in Sierra Leone, and anticipates additional requests.
The shipment – valued at more than $337,000 wholesale – contains basic antibiotics and most importantly, personal protective equipment, such as exam and surgical gloves, disposable gowns, and masks to prevent the highly contagious disease from spreading to health workers – one of the greatest resources in containing the epidemic. Without these basic supplies, health providers are in danger of contracting the virus.
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Ebola is an extremely deadly virus with a case fatality rate of up to 90 percent. The death total for the current outbreak in West Africa has climbed to more than 500. Ebola does not have a cure, but chances of survival increase dramatically if adequate treatment is received early on.
Often mistaken for malaria, ebola symptoms include fever, vomiting and diarrhea. It sometimes results in severe internal and external bleeding, and many of the deaths are a result of shock or organ failure. Ebola is highly contagious through infected bodily fluids like sweat, blood, and saliva and remains infectious even after the victim has died.
Wellbody Alliance, a nonprofit that operates a 55-bed clinic in rural Kono District, Sierra Leone is reporting need for medications, supplies, and emergency staff. In the last two weeks, the total number of Ebola cases in Sierra Leone has almost doubled and the number of confirmed deaths has nearly tripled, according to the World Health Organization.
Direct Relief is also in touch with partner Last Mile Health and the Ministry of Health in Liberia, where the outbreak is not yet as severe, as they develop a full assessment of needs. Earlier this spring, Direct Relief sent medical aid for Ebola to ELWA Hospital in Liberia.
Direct Relief thanks Ansell Healthcare, Basic Medical, Baxter International, Inc., Cera Products, Inc., Covidien, Kimberly-Clark, McKesson Medical Surgical, Inc., Merck, Mylan Laboratories, Inc., Prestige Brands, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Sempermed USA for supporting this response.