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The only areas where Ebola is still really present right now in Liberia is actually where
we are in Monrovia. I saw that they shoot people that try to cross
the border? Yeah because we have a lot of movement still
of refugees and a lot of gangs in the area. We have anti-government groups operating in
the area. Obviously the Ebola outbreak has been significantly
affecting operations. So let's say someone goes to the bathroom
and has Ebola, and you go the bathroom afterwards. Do you have a chance of catching Ebola then?
Yeah, small chance, you have a small chance. It is important to get patients with Ebola
into proper treatment facilities. This has been a disease that's had a very mayor impact
on the people living in these three most affected countries.
I remember coming back from Ethiopia where we did a Gaming For Good event and we had
finally hit that $20 million milestone. Gaming For Good, what does it do and how did
you come up with it? It's basically just a website were developers
donate their games and when people donate to charity, they get those games for free.
Athene and I always try to focus on whatever we think is the most important and effective
ways in which we can make a big difference. You have raised, in concert, with Razer, $9.4
million for Save the Children. Yes.
That is a lot of money. Ebola was looking really scary, there was
a lot of hysteria, it was all over the news and then came a CDC report saying that by
2015 we could have as many as 1.4 million cases.
At the time there were around six - seven thousand cases and the world was already in
a panic, we immediately thought: Can we fundraise for it? Can we raise awareness with it, because
it seemed there were a lot of misconceptions. Can we travel to a place like Guinea, like
Sierra Leone, like Liberia. Could an NGO like Save The Children be able to sort of guarantee
our safety? Because the reason why we've gone to Mali, why we've gone to Indonesia and Ethiopia
is because it allows us to make it personal for our viewers.
I've already said I'm proud to be a gamer because of everything you guys have been doing.
I will be showing here the video so you guys can see what you have been doing, the changes
you have been bringing. Looking back, where we came from. The first
video I uploaded, 'best paladin in the world' and seeing where we are now, what we managed
to achieve together with you guys really puts a smile on my face.
Athene has a massive fan base as one of the most well known gamers in the world
and together we try to use this platform for activism and spreading awareness and fundraising.
We did it! We hit one million dollars! We hit one million dollars!
Turned out there were a lot of obstacles in trying to get such a trip planned and green-lit,
lots of briefings, security clearances, visas, tons of paperwork, mandatory life insurance,
medical insurance,... Save the Children was remarkably cooperative,
we thought they were going to say: "you guys are nuts, we're not doing this".
They've done stunt after stunt and sacrifice after sacrifice, spending 12 hours or more,
sometimes 16 hours a day for the past year and a half. Livestreaming just to raise awareness
and funds for Save the Children. For months and months every day we would have
a Skype call with Save the Children, we would talk about planning, we would talk about whether
we would be able to get to Guinea or Sierra Leone or Liberia, there would be conversations
with Country directors... We would be going over security protocols and all sorts of things
we had to go through like medical check-ups. Have you checked with your medical provider
to ensure that your trip or medical needs are covered.
You know what are the problems and what are the contagious things you have to pay attention
to.
Have you had a psychosocial briefing? Save is asking all of their staff who are
deploying for the Ebola response to meet with a member of the Humanitarian Staff Care.
Have you checked in with the local embassy and let them know you're traveling to Liberia?
We hope things will be okay before the end of the year.
I was wondering, since we were going to an Ebola-hit country, if it's a higher rate?
No, you don't have to pay a higher rate. If you're in good health, you can have the insurance.
It's a great risk for yourself, I think it's great that you do it.
Would you do it? I wouldn't, no.
Make sure that you've received and submitted all your paperwork and that's including your
medical clearances and things of that nature. And as if we didn't have enough obstacles
in our way already, friends and family were not too keen on the idea.
I'm guess I'm both excited and scared at the same time.
When I heard that my son wants to go to the Ebola environment, I was very afraid, I said:
no you don't go. I think that my uncle going to Ebola is kinda
stupid, it's actually a dangerous idea in my opinion.
You hear crazy stories about Ebola so you know there is always a risk I guess.
They have a completely wrong view about it, if I would just bring it up they would go
like, man you're crazy, you're going to die. Even my family thinks I'm going to die. Like
some people think I'm going to die. But it makes no sense. There are some health workers
that catch it but they're in direct contact with patients and they maybe miss protocols.
I don't think it's a good idea. I would not do it.
We would of course assure them: look we only do this if Save the Children can sort of guarantee
our safety. They can never 100% guarantee it. We had to sign a release form that basically
said that Save the Children is not responsible if anything were to happen to us. But still,
Save the Children was doing all that they could.
You do whatever what you want to do so I can't say nothing but it's maybe good to raise money
and to make awareness about illness. Athene, when do you both depart?
Monday. I don't really know what to expect, but we've
gone through a lot of security procedures and stuff so... I know some people are concerned
that we might get Ebola but the chances are really very very slim.
So we've finally got the green light from Save the Children, we finally had everything
sorted out. On our way there we tried to interview some
other travelers but almost none of them were allowed to speak, because they were all NGO's
or military or government. I live part time in Liberia, I'm from Liberia.
I've been helping the Ebola crisis since June. Health issues are a problem, clinics are a
problem, proper funding going to those ministries and proper medication and proper supplies
are very important. Ebola is just one of the few crises or issues
that happen in Liberia. More awareness is necessary.
Obviously it affects you. It affects the economy, it affected every segment of our society.
The disease is very horrible and very dangerous but it's something that we can contain and
something that we can prevent. I am aware that I need to be careful, I'm
afraid of not being able to handshake or afraid of not being able to hug my friends.
Proper funding and proper allocation of funds to the direct channels are definitely necessarry.
The moment we land we sort of immediately felt the gravity of the situation as you're
not able to get out of the airplane without washing your hands and having your temperature
checked. Excuse me. Did you wash your hands?
They had a huge tank of chlorine water set up where everyone had to wash their hands
and it said in big red letters 'Ebola is real'. This is something we were about to see everywhere.
You would have to wash your hands before entering someone's house and you would see how the
entire country's behavior had been changed by the outbreak.
At this point in time we hadn't actually announced anything yet, we had deliberately kept it
a secret because we knew that people might have tried to convince us or might have been
started petitions to persuade us from going to Liberia.
So later that night we released a video to announce that we were in Liberia.
Hi guys this is Athene, I�m here in Liberia. Driving right now from the airport to the
hotel. And I�m here with Save the Children, It�s
one of the countries that�s been hit the hardest by Ebola. The reason why we are here
is to raise awareness around it. Because the cause is so important, we thought we�d come
here and bring it closer to you guys. We also will make a documentary about it,
talk to survivors, we will go to Ebola clinics, we will be interviewing health-workers, we
will give you guys a window here on the ground.
At first we were in Monrovia, which is the capital of Liberia.
Everywhere you go, you would see billboards, inscriptions, wall paintings all mentioning
things like precautions, ways of spotting Ebola, what to do when you�re ill.
It was omnipresent.
We traveled to Monrovia independently, but Phil Carroll would help us travel around Liberia
while making sure that we take all precautions and minimize any risk.
So everywhere you go, if it�s like a restaurant or a hotel, they will take your temperature
to make sure that you don't have a fever cause one of the first signs of Ebola is a fever.
So what happens if I have a fever?
If you have a fever, then you have to report it right away. It doesn�t mean you have
Ebola, you could just have a bad cold, you could have the flue, you could have malaria.
The only areas where Ebola is still really present right now in Liberia is actually where
we are in Monrovia.
If you then start to vomit or if you have really bad diarrhea then you become more of
like a probable or suspected case. So they probably pay closer attention to you.
I see, so do you go quarantine immediately?
You would probably go to an isolation room.
I would go to an isolation room and then to medical center.
Yes, we observe you for like 30 minutes and then ask a few questions, then we call an
ambulance to take you to the medical center.
So you have your own separate bathroom and your... Toilet room.
And then the ambulance comes to pick you up.
Yes.
The same stuff that�s in there is also in the sponge, and so what you do is, before
you enter, you just step here and whatever you may have dragged in on the bottom of your
shoes is now disinfected.
So let's say someone goes to the bathroom and has Ebola, an you go to the bathroom afterwards,
do you have a chance of catching Ebola then? Yeah, small chance, you have a small chance.
It is important to get patients with Ebola into proper treatment facilities.
We do have to be isolate people with Ebola as quickly as possible.
Everywhere you go, people would be very very aware and cautious.
Even when they are isolated, health-care workers will provide care.
It�s a very serious disease and most people die from it.
In Monrovia there are several Ebola clinics and there is a range of NGO's operating in
the area. So even though the population density was the highest in Monrovia and it's where
Ebola is still the most present, most of Liberia is much more remote and less actively monitored.
In many of these area's Ebola can take out entire families and disrupt entire communities
very easily. It was astounding to see the complexity of
the work that government and NGO�s like save the children were doing.
Cause aside for setting up Ebola treatment units and clinics, the logistics behind containing
and tracking the disease were quite complicated.
We got one case where the body would be moved up to a village in a taxi and the body was
kept between two individuals and the taxi driver dropped off the body and then went
driving up to another town and picked up a few other people.
That taxi driver is a contact of the Ebola victim, in this case someone we know died
from Ebola. There were over 1,000 people from that one person that died that we had to trace.
She died in Monrovia, but she died away from were she was from.
So they drove from the capital city all the way to their home community here.
When they were in the home community, they had a traditional burial. Now a traditional
burial normally means, there'll be washing of the body, there'll be family members all
around, cleaning it, preparing the body, doing it properly.
And the father of the woman who died was an important local chief, bringing in lots and
lots of local people because they wanted to share respect for the important members of
their community. We find out that she had been buried and we
get a swab of some of the clothes that had been wrapped around her. That swab comes back
as Ebola positive. So then we know that a dead body had been moved all the way from
Monrovia up 3-4 hours. With 2 people holding up the dead body and
a taxi driver driving to get back to the community. So you got hundreds and hundreds of people
and on the same day 15 meters from the house of the chief, you've got the election.
So you've also got lots of people coming to vote on the very same day that this is happening.
So what we had to do is then track down, through our community health volunteers, all of those
people, including the taxi driver that had gone to another city and picked up some other
people and find the people that he picked up just to make sure that we keep a watch
and provide the right information and there for track if they had any of the symptoms
we can quickly pick up on them and encourage them to go the CCC or the ETU very quickly
and if we don't get those people, if we don't do our police work and find out who all of
these contacts are, you have potentially people running around and infecting a new group of
people and you start what we call a hotspot and a new hotspot elsewhere.
We traveled by car for four hours to get to a more remote area of Bong County.
I told you guys I would keep you guys daily posted with videos. Being here is completely
different than actually reading up on the crisis when I was back home.
When you're back home, you just think about statistics and numbers and you have certain
ideas about the situation here on the ground. But you really see how an entire culture has
been completely changed and has done dramatic changes in the way they interact with each
other and such. People don�t touch each other, they don�t
shake hands they don�t hug, they don�t give kisses or anything.
Liberia used to be a very warm country where people were very intimate in their interactions.
What is really crazy is meeting those children that actually survived Ebola and lost people,
parents or sisters or brothers because of Ebola.
It�s really heartbreaking to see how every single number that I have seen on pages when
I was just looking up the count of Ebola and stuff...
How they translate to actually real stories here on the ground.
We came by a football stadium that had been transformed into what�s called a holding
center. It would be used to isolate and monitor people who could potentially have Ebola.
Once somebody came in contact with anyone that was positive, they were brought here
for observation for 21 days.
So they have to stay here for 21 days.
Yes, 21 days.
Even if they're not sick?
Even if they're not sick. And their home, their family that one person that came down
with Ebola, the entire family members of that house were brought here.
This has been enforced on people, like you have to come here or is it?
Of course.
So it�s not voluntary? They can not come here, decide whether they come here or not?
It was not voluntary.
Have people tried to climb out of here?
Yes, at times we... On several occasions, we face problems.
So it was not an easy task to keep people here.
And were there sometimes fights inside?
Sometimes they fought among themselves. Sometimes they force this place and get out
but we had contact tracers in the community that came across, search people and talk to
them about the importance of coming here. A good number of them while here came down
positive and they were transferred to the ETU.
So when you're here in quarantine for 21 days, I'm just trying to imagine... What do you
do in here?
They are just here and sometimes during the evening hour we show movies, you know?
Yeah. To entertain them.
I see.
Yeah and we fed them three times every day. Sometimes we brought a football for the children,
you know to keep them busy.
Those tents are basically used to sleep in.
Yeah, yeah. That's where they sleep during the day. Sometimes they come out and sit here.
Did you ever think you were at risk by working here?
Oh definitely, definitely. Even when they came to serve them food. The cooks had to
dress in their PPE's to serve food.
What if, hypothetically, if one of your family would have Ebola, would you also come here?
Of course, yes, yes.
There is something I wanted to ask because the Country Director brought something up.
A lot of people try to evade the fact that they might have Ebola, because the community
rejects them.
When people were discharged from here, sometimes when they go back into community, the community
people will not want to accept them. In fact some community people, when somebody
got sick in the home, they in fact blow alarm. And that's one reason why we had to go and
get them out, to bring them here. Community people rejected them so this was
also a safe place for them here. Cause if they would be in the home, nobody would interact
them. Nobody would say anything to them and they would not go anywhere. So this place
was safe, they were here and we provided almost everything.
So it basically works both ways. It's not just like being here was being isolated, since
people that were potentially Ebola-infected were already rejected, this was actually a
way where they could socialize still with other people.
Yes, this was a safe place for them, in fact, some would walk here voluntarily. Some, because
they knew their family came down with Ebola. So people begin to keep far away from them.
So the only better place they could come was here. Because from here, if you are discharged,
you are given a certificate. So when you go back into the community, they know that you
are free.
One thing we noticed from uploading our daily videos from Liberia was that there was a lot
of negativity and misinformation.
I just woke up, I was going through the video because we're in a hotel and we have some
very limited internet and I was reading a little bit through the comments.
There were quite a lot of people that were very supportive.
But there were some of the upvoted comments that are really depressing.
It's really crazy to think that some people have certain ideas, it's not like Ebola is
a curse upon just Africa, it might as well have happened in South-America if the virus
would be there. Some people have the misconception that it's
an African disease and that people deserve it here. It's really crazy to see, that they
even get upvoted, I know it's not the majority and I know there is also a lot of support.
I really hope that trips like this can change those peoples mind because we are just all
people, you know?
We have to start thinking about these diseases from a global context, sometimes we can say
that Ebola is over there, wherever there might be, until it reaches our shore.
We saw this in America, when the first Ebola case happened in Texas, the doctor in New
York city. So this is something that the whole world needs to address. That can't just be
something that is dealt with in Africa. I think that was an extremely important lesson
that we learned, that these diseases demand the world's attention.
These are some of the most upvoted comments on the videos that we put online.
What do you think about it? Because you work here, you also risk your life in a sense,
to be here.
That makes me really sad actually, I think the money that has gone into Africa has not
been spent in vain. Some of the fastest growing economies are here in Africa, you see that
once you're on the ground. You don't see Africa the way that it was presented say in the 1980's
during the famine in Ethiopia where kids were starving and it's still an area of the world
that deserves our attention with foreign assistance. We�ve seen that developing countries, say
like South-Korea for instance, because of the aid that was given to South-Korea, they
are now a donor, so they are now helping the developing world.
We can�t just turn our back on a population that is this massive, as human beings I think
just from a moral perspective if someone in your family was hurt or suffering, I think
we have to treat Africa the same way. We are all part of the global community.
One way in which we thought we could raise awareness other then our YouTube videos and
the documentary, was through Reddit. Some people describe Reddit as the front page of
the internet. It's one of the most popular websites online and it's a little bit like
a news site but where readers can post links and articles themselves and get to decide
what is on the front page by upvoting or downvoting items.
We traveled to a remote place here in Bong to visit an Ebola surviver, he�s a 14 year
old kid. We explained the idea of doing a Reddit AMA and he was interested in doing
so. For people who wanted to have a better view on it, you guys can follow the AMA, we
will put a link in the description.
When we made a post on reddit.com saying that Mohamed, as a 13 year old survivor, would
be open to answer questions online, thousand of people started posting questions. Mohamed's
story was upvoted to the top three items of the front page and got picked up by news outlets
like the BBC. Responses were incredibly positive and encouraging.
It was great to see how much it raised awareness and connected people with what things are
really like here in Liberia.
He lost his own little sister and also his stepmother and it's just crazy to see that,
for them this is a reality. For us, when we are back home, we hear it, we talk about it,
we see it in the news but..
Was it psychologically painful?
I thought I would never make it.
Mohamed answered all questions, whether they were sensitive and about family members he
had lost or whether they were silly... Such as what flavor of ice cream he prefers or
whether he would like to have an Xbox. He didn't know what ice cream was and had
never heard of an Xbox.
Great to see you survived. Such a horrible illness and thanks a lot for doing this AMA.
My question is: what is your dream job, when you grow up?
I would love to work for an NGO.
Mohammed spends his days working as a mechanic on motorcycles and cars.
He said that the way Ebola had changed him, was that he now wanted to go to school and
in the future work for an NGO.
Many people like Mohammed survived Ebola thanks to the help of treatment units, like the one
we were able to visit in Bong Couny.
The Bong County ETU was run by the International Medical Corps and funded by USAID, it's one
of the many treatment units where health-workers risk their lives to test whether people are
Ebola positive and help Ebola patients survive. We just put our shoes in chlorine and had
to wash it and have to do it again, twice, we are now at the ETU center, an Ebola Treatment
Unit, an ETU that's what they call it here.
When our ambulances or any other ambulances from the community gets in, two sprayers will
be dressing up at that time because they need to spray the ambulance outside and then help
the patient and they spray the ambulance inside with chlorine.
This is our triage area.
Are we allowed to enter?
Yeah if you just soak your soles over there.
Here we dress on light PPE, this consists of goggles, disposable gawns, mask, gloves.
Then we access the triage where the patient will be sitting.
This area is every shift sprayed and decontaminated, but we are not allowed to go inside without
the light PPE. So then when we are wearing our light PPE
we sit in there and then the patient will be sitting there, more or less 2 to 3 meters
away from us, we are still protected.
Then we interview the patient, history, and like symptoms, when the symptoms started...
We always explain to the patient what to expect, that we're going to take blood from them,
that we're going to look after them, give food, medication. And then if they test positive,
they have to transferred over to our confirmed ward but if they test negative we discharge
them or if they need further treatment like IV or further studies they will go to the
county hospital which is the hospital near here.
What is it that drives you to risk your life to save your own people while even your own
community stigmatizes you, what is it?
We are motivated because we saw people die on a daily basis.
It was a difficult situation, everybody had fear of course, initially.
If we could do it again, like you said before, if we could do it initially, we would go back
and still do it again, we would still do more.
I have my families living around here. There was a need to make the community safe for
people to live. If we had not come here to work, and the international community had
not come to our rescue. Then we would be living in a nightmare.
But because we came and we already had the passion to do it but we needed help. But it
was not an easy task to recieve the first Ebola case, to touch the first Ebola patient.
But we started it and we saw that there was joy in seeing people who had no hope and we
came to start to help them and all of a sudden we saw these people getting well, becoming
part of the community again, that gives you more courage to go and help people, even who
are really really sick.
To be working here, for me, is a great privilege. To work along the staff that we have here
is an incredible privilege. These are some of the most hardworking, dedicated, enthusiastic,
positive people that I have ever had to opportunity to work alongside.
When I first came to the ETU, when I met people, especially in the confirmed ward, dying...
And I had to wear the first time a PPE, going in to feed a patient, to talk to a patient,
psychosocial support giving to a patient, it was kind of memorable for me.
I was just before the door where these nurses were struggling to help the patient, the patient
had fallen, on the floor, from the bed to the floor.
So this nurse said "Come, come and help, let's take her and pull her back on the bed" I almost
said no, that's not my duty. She said "come George, come!".
So that's how I went and helped, lifted this huge somebody, placed her back on the bed
and would try to help her, cover her with some cloth and there I started thinking if
I had contracted Ebola. Before we completed our run with the psychosocial aspect, the
patient gave up, she died. I still continue to remember that particular instance and it's
memorable for me.
You're one of the first nurses who worked here, one of the first three.
When we got here back in September, Monrovia felt like a ghost city, everyone was super
scared. We trained in MSF 4-5 days, before coming here and opening this ETU and the situation
was really horrible. People were dying in the streets, they were opening in the morning
at 8 for new patients and at twelve they had to close because they were completely full.
Patients were just testing positive every day left and right, we didn't have enough
bed space for them, we were trying to scale up and the numbers were so huge that we couldn't
absorb them. We provide 24/7 care so it was not only around the clock care, but it was
like everyone was on speed eleven right. So it was amazing to see just the perseverance
that all of our staff had and to see the patients, the ones who recovered, to see them really
push through to fight for their lives, despite knowing maybe there would be some repercussions
with resistance from communities or some stigma, that they were pushing forward and then to
see families surround their love ones. We have visitor spaces were families can come
and visit. Family members of patients, we keep a safe distance between them, so there
is no risk.
Ok. Right now there is a patient coming in and we are not allowed to shoot anything but
we will shoot the way they are taking precautions and putting their suits on. Because of the
stigmatization, we are not allowed to shoot even the car that comes in and drives him
in.
We have our overalls, we wear 3 pairs of gloves, one nitril, one surgical, we wear a mask,
we wear an apron and we wear a hood and goggles. And no skin is exposed. It's protocol that
we don't allow any skin to be exposed just in case of any splash. Almost all the gear
that we use for PPE will be incinerated, only a few things are washed and re-used such as
aprons, goggles our boots and scrubs. So then when we are ready and we are completely
dressed and we have our safetey monitors making sure we are following the right steps, we'll
go in and maybe in like 15-20 minutes we come out.
Just going to admit the patient and asses him...okay?
What decides whether a patient survives or dies?
What is it that makes the difference?
If you get help early in the stage of the disease... You might get help from the beginning
and still die or you might not get any help and survive. I think what is making a difference...
In terms of dehydration, like with people from the beginning there wasn't any care.
They would die only from dehydration but if you get enough IV fluids like we have been
giving like a liter every 8 hours, that would help your body to last, last, last and make
it able to create anti-bodies that will fight the disease. We are trying to extend the life
of the body to make it able to create anti-bodies.
We sort of try to combine infection prevention and control measures, which are very very
strict. Because a dead body is when the virus is most
infectious. That is what Joshua's team oversees.
The Bong County ETU had been one of the most effective places at helping Ebola patients
survive. For patients who do not make it, burials and ceremonies are organized according
to very strict procedures.
The bodies are brought here by those in full PPE and they come to the entrance. We have
a stretcher where the bodies are placed and the families are lined up behind the body.
There are some graves at the far left corner and they come around this way and like this
one are much more recent in this corner here.
When people come to say goodbye to their families, is the person getting buried while they are
standing and watching?
Yeah, when loved ones are being buried by someone in an infection suit, they will psychologically
keep a distance anyway. But at the same time they want to be close,
you know, touch and being close to the body is part of their culture as well.
The grave is sprayed with chlorine before the gravediggers start filling, so the gravediggers
won't fill the grave until they feel satisfied that the area is disinfected completely.
For the funeral, we invite the family. The family will stay in the middle. "Would you
like to sing a song?" we ask the family, if they say "Yes, we want to sing our last song"
and the family will sing. "What song would you like to sing?", they will sing the song.
The pastor, if the person is a christian, the pastor will read one or two scriptures,
sing a song and conduct the funeral. And then the burial goes on.
A lot of the families would like to do cementing to the graves. It's part of the tradition
but until we can be sure that the virus is no longer easily disturbed, we can't do any
of that work with the grave site until that time is past.
Because of the crisis sometimes we had 2, 3, 4, 5 buried the same day. This had to been
done. This is against our culture, to dig graves and then wait for someone to die, we
don't do it. So this is something against our culture but we had to because of Ebola.
Remember the girl, JT, you remember I was telling you about the survivors, that's the
girl, that's her hand.
Josephine was one of the survivors from the Bong County ETU. A remarkable 9 year old girl
who we had met on our trip. She lost her father to Ebola and her mother had fallen ill as
well. At the time she only had her older sister
to look after her. But she showed such strength and resilience.
In fact, what surprised us the most of all our experience here was how Liberians in general
stayed strong and adapted in order to fight and contain the disease.
Even though just about everyone we talked to had lost someone or knew someone who had
lost someone to Ebola. It's not only the domestic and foreign aid that has been responsible
for the rapid decline of Ebola cases. We mustn't see it as those brave foreigners.
It is Liberians, Guineans and Sierra Leoneans who have been fronting up men, women, children,
trying to support their loved ones and their compatriots during this period of time.
And because of that, many of them have died.
The devastation that we have seen in communities and families, how an entire nation is affected,
normalcy such as school, churches, have been completely disrupted.
In those countries, Ebola will no longer be a threat, but it will leave major consequences
in its wake and people will have to catch up in many many different ways, not to mention
the permanent scars that will be left from family members having died or children having
been orphaned.
The way that these countries united in changing their behaviors played a key role. At this
point, scientists are experimenting with vaccines and cures and new trials for vaccines had
just begun the same day we flew back to Belgium.
You know, it takes a really long time to develop a vaccine. It has to go through many clinical
trials. The Ebola vaccine has been fast-tracked. Ebola is still a disease, even when it's eradicated
from these three countries, that doesn't mean that it's gone away., I mean, we have seen
outbreaks of Ebola in other places for decades.
The greatest struggle with these clinical drug trials is that the number of Ebola cases
they can test them on has now become very small.
There are several drugs being tested but they will not be developed in time to help very
much with this outbreak, but if we have drugs for the next time Ebola occurs, and it will
occur again, then that would be very helpful.
New Ebola cases in Guinea have fallen to only 40 per week compared with more than a hundred
near the end of last year according to the World Health Organization.
Sierra Leone had 80 and Liberia recently only had 5 new cases.
We are going to see the end of Ebola pretty soon in all three countries here.
Early results of experimental anti-Ebola drugs are encouraging but perhaps there is something
even more important that the world can learn from these events.
In the three countries Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, we should not underestimate the impact
that this should have and personally I hope that when we do reach zero cases of Ebola,
we don't all forget about it and say that it's over because it will not be over.
Because these people will be living with the consequences for many years to come.
Economic growth has stopped completely and now the economy is going down, productivity
has been destroyed, rice production and food production has been really impacted because
people haven't been going to work, they've been scared of going, shops have been closed.
Entire families were wiped away by this disease, so there needs to be a lot of attention and
resources devoted to getting Liberia, Sierra Leone, getting Guinea back on their feet once
Ebola is declared eradicated.
Now we are looking about rebuilding the city and a lot of people go like now that Ebola
is stopped, it is all fine and you know, they've stopped it, it's not going to come to Europe
anymore and it is not going to go to the US. But now it's the recovery because you've got
health systems that are completely destroyed with nobody to function in those health services
because a high percentage of staff working in the health sector are now dead or a bit
scared to come back.
If entire countries can deeply change their culture and their awareness in such a short
amount of time, perhaps crises like these can teach us to be more aware of the global
community that we live in.
We should not be concerned about Ebola because we are all going to die, we should be concerned
about Ebola because there are people, human beings, who live in poverty, who struggled
with their lives like we do, who are dying or are going to die.
This isn't about us, it's about our humanity, our concern for other people who are in some
way less privileged than we are, that are suffering from a disease that they don't understand,
we don't have a complete understanding of it and I think we all have to act in solidarity
with people.
The end of the Ebola outbreak may be near but it's how we globally think and respond
to these issues in the near and far future that is even more important.
On a small scale it will give children like Mohamed and Josephine a better chance to for
example get an education. On a larger scale it will be a deciding factor in how humanity
moves forward.
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The End of Ebola (Athene's Documentary)

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kevin published on March 2, 2015
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