Last week, the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, noted that the fight against Ebola is a fight against inequality.[i]
The Ebola virus is difficult to treat in the nations of the world where there is the best medical treatment available (as we witnessed this week with the death of Thomas Duncan in Dallas), but for those who happen to live in Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone, it is thousands of times worse.
It means arriving to a medical center only to be turned away because there isn’t enough space or staff.
It means entire villages being wiped out from the virus.
It means the dead being left with no one to bury them.
It means not being able to comfort the grieving.
It means the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars of economic growth in countries which are already devastatingly poor.
Kim adds, “Thousands of people in these countries are dying because, in the lottery of birth, they were born in the wrong place.”
The presidents of these three West African countries made a plea for help from the international community yesterday. In speaking to the World Bank, they asked for medicine and food. Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was specific in her requests. She asked for the construction of treatment centers and training of healthcare workers to be completed within a month.
We are called to give assistance not because of the risk the virus brings to us in the United States.
We are called to give assistance because no one is born in the wrong place.
(Lutheran Disaster Response is serving at Phoebe Hospital and Curran Lutheran Hospital in Liberia, providing protective gear and supplies to medical workers. Consider a gift: (http://www.elca.org/Our-Work/Relief-and-Development/Lutheran-Disaster-Response/Our-Impact/Ebola)