Tuesday, October 7, 2014

When Ebola Comes to Dallas, Texas

I took an infectious diseases class in college where I actually did a term paper on Ebola, that is one of many reasons I've been closely following the heartbreaking outbreak in West Africa.  But, also because Africa has a big piece of my heart.  Ethiopia is on the other side of the continent from the Ebola outbreak; Ethiopia is in East Africa but, still, the healthcare system is extremely lacking.  I've seen the devastation that is inadequate healthcare.

The healthcare problems in Africa are both simple and extremely complex at the same time.  Quite simply, there are not enough doctors.  There are currently more doctors working in Chicago than in all of Ethiopia!  And the complex issues, things like many do attend medical school in Ethiopia but are lured away by job offers from developed nations upon graduation and healthcare is vastly harder where there is improper sanitation and limited access to clean water and electricity.

The health system is so vastly different than what we have access to here in America.  One statistic that dramatically highlights the differences:  just 6% of births in Ethiopia are attended by a skilled health worker while in America 98.75% of births are in a hospital!  So, in Ethiopia large numbers of women and babies still die in childbirth.

I feel like we in America have said for too long, "It's not our problem" regarding flailing healthcare in African countries.  But the reality is that we are not as isolated as our arrogance might suggest, only a plane ride or two away as the Ebola case in Dallas, Texas reveals.  

If anything good can come out of the devastation of this Ebola outbreak, let it be that nations who have so much give a bigger hand up to those that have so little.

Two people in the picture below, my husband and me, happened to be born in a nation of plenty, and the 100 or so others in the picture, mostly children, happened to be born in a country of great poverty where so many struggle for basics like food, water, and medical care.  We were all created in the very image of God.

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