From the beginning, it was clear that a medical response alone was not going to stop Ebola. And while doctors were rightly lauded for their incredibly heroic work, community mobilizers like Mariam were in the background laboring in the hot zones, changing minds almost one Guinean at a time, all the while exposing themselves to potential infection and violence.
Bordering Sierra Leone, Forécariah is 60 miles and over four hours of bumpy, dusty, traffic-laden routes out of the country's coastal capital of Conakry. With only a small portion of Guinea's 12 million people, Forécariah's population of 136,000 represents 80 percent of all new Ebola cases since January.
In a world rife with war, religious, racial, gender, sectarian, and political strife, when so many children lack safety, enough food, shelter, health care, and education and suffer unthinkable losses of parents to disease, violence, and war, I hope this New Year will bring adults closer to our common sense and moral responsibility for children's well being.
The World Health Organization reported a global total of more than 16,000 cases and nearly 6,943 deaths. We also expect economic losses in the billions of dollars in the West Africa region, as employees stay home, markets close, and food prices rise. At the same time, we are seeing some hopeful signs.