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.
While it is crucial that the rest of the world deliver medical aid to help Liberia meet the massive need for health care, the secondary consequences of the outbreak should not be ignored. Besides containing Ebola, Liberians need food and basic supplies. They need assistance for non-Ebola related health issues. They need creative solutions in education.
Indeed, 2.5 million children under five are living in the hardest-hit areas across the region, and 75 percent of all children infected in the current epidemic have died. Even those who are not infected themselves risk losing their parents to this terrible disease and often end up alone and ostracized by their communities.
A few days ago, Google announced that it will donate $2 for every $1 people donate to nonprofits such as Médecins Sans Frontières and Save the Children in the fight against Ebola. As well-intentioned as this campaign might be, short-lived charity donations are not what is necessary to successfully eradicate the Ebola virus.