Fighting Ebola: Special Edition

Photos set into stamps of mothers and children

October 2014

A health care worker in complete protection gear beckons to passer-bys.
Credit: Morgana Wingard/USAID

Ebola was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Known then as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, the rare and deadly disease is caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically in Africa. The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa.

Threats and Responses

Since the first cases of Ebola were reported in March 2014, the United States has mounted a whole-of-government response to contain and eliminate the epidemic at its source. We are marshaling the full weight, resources, and assets of the United States. We're working to reach high-risk communities with critical information and community care kits to help stop the outbreak, and we're uniting the world in the quest for ingenious ideas that deliver new solutions in a matter of weeks, not months.

Ebola threatens not only lives, but also livelihoods. The main driver of economic impacts is not the loss of labor to sickness and death, or even the major diversion of resources into health care, but rather the much broader spillover effects from peoples’ fear of contagion. Self-protective aversion behavior shuts down businesses, disrupts transportation and agriculture, and sidelines employment-creating investment plans – all of which drive down peoples’ livelihoods by undermining a country’s production and trade. The Ebola epidemic reminds us that our global efforts to build the capacity to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to infectious disease threats have never been more vital.

Health care workers put on personal protective equipment (PPE)
Health care workers put on personal protective equipment (PPE) before going into the hot zone at Island Clinic in Monrovia, Liberia.
Credit: Morgana Wingard/USAID

A Grand Challenge to Fight Ebola

Fighting Ebola: A Grand Challenge for Development urges innovators around the world to submit ideas focused on improving the tools used by front line health care workers in the fight against Ebola in West Africa. The initial focus of the Challenge, as announced by President Barack Obama on September 26, is to generate pioneering solutions to improve the personal protective equipment (PPE) and tools used by healthcare workers battling Ebola. Every day, health workers in Ebola-affected countries are performing critical, life-saving tasks that prevent the spread of the virus. PPE offers important protection, but also is the greatest source of physical discomfort and stress for the workers.

Ebola burial
The mother of Phelica Anthony, 6, says goodbye to her daughter as a burial team takes her body away.
Credit: Morgana Wingard/USAID

On the Front Lines of the Ebola Epidemic: Daily Dispatches

We’ve teamed up with photojournalist Morgana Wingard, who is on the ground with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) staff in Liberia documenting the fight on Ebola. Her photos and stories highlight the many facets of the Ebola story and international response – from life inside a treatment center, to profiles of the healthcare workers battling Ebola from the front lines, to the many ways the epidemic is impacting the health, economy, and future of the nation.

Ebola frontlines montage with images of doctors, men carrying bags and clean up shots.

Profiles in Courage

From the security officers, to public health experts, to information specialists, our Disaster Assistance Response Team staff are on the front lines of the Ebola response, many of them facing their greatest fears. This series compiles portraits and reflections from this unique and sober moment in history.

Construction crews work quickly to build a new Ebola Treatment Unit in Liberia.
With funding and support from USAID, construction crews work quickly to build a new Ebola Treatment Unit in Monrovia, Liberia.
Credit: Morgana Wingard/USAID

Unprecedented Response

President Obama recently declared the Ebola epidemic in West Africa a top national security priority and announced a clear, comprehensive, and global strategy to stop the outbreak. This series covers unique angles, updates, and scholarship on the Ebola crisis and how the United States is ramping up to help.

Read more Impact Blog articles on Ebola:

Foundational Investments in Combatting Pandemic and Emerging Threats

The Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) is an effort between the U.S. Government, other nations, international organizations and public and private stakeholders, to accelerate progress toward a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats and to promote global health security as an international security priority. As part of this agenda, USAID is focusing on hotspots of previous disease emergence in countries and epidemiological zones where the risks of spillover, amplification, and spread are greatest.

USAID’s contributions to GHSA include efforts to address pandemic threats by: (1) monitoring viruses and behaviors at locations where there are high contact rates between animals and people; (2) training workers across public health, animal health, and environment sectors (“One Health”); (3) strengthening interdisciplinary committees to prevent, prepare, and respond to infectious diseases; and (4) develop interventions to reduce the risk of animal viruses becoming public health threats.

Photo sources for top banner left to right:James Pursey/EGPAF, Marcy Erskine/IFRC, Jameel Ahmad/JSI/PAIMAN.

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