Over the past few days, many people will have noticed a change in their Facebook account. Whether on Facebook mobile or desktop, they will have seen an advertisement asking for donations to fight Ebola. This is an exciting new initiative undertaken by Facebook and a number of charities, mainly Save the Children, the International Federation of Red Cross, the International Medical Corps and the Red Crescent Societies. Additionally, they are investing in satellite communication terminals designed to improve access to the Internet in the West African countries that have been most affected by the disease. The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has made a public video announcement in relation to this.
I want to make sure Facebook does its part to help fight Ebola.
The initiative will be visible to users of the social media platform in 34 different countries. The current Ebola outbreak is the worst in history, and various efforts are being pushed to raise funds to fight it. The Facebook initiative is truly groundbreaking, allowing everyday people a simple way to help turn the tide against Ebola, stopping the illness before it progresses or spreads even further.
Save the Children, which is one of the main charities that Facebook is working with, is currently providing relief in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. They are providing vital training to health workers, as well as to everyday people in terms of protecting themselves and their loved ones. Furthermore, they are distributing medical equipment as well as protective kits. Save the Children also works in terms of providing psychological help to survivors and to ensure child welfare is maintained, in particular for orphaned or abandoned children.
Save the Children has opened up an Ebola Treatment Center, the first of its kind, in Sierra Leone. The goal is for this specialist center to stop the transmission of Ebola in its track. Some 80 beds are available in the facility and patients can be diagnosed and treated here. Additionally, any children, be they potentially infected or related to someone who is infected, will receive protection and care. International Medical Corps is engaging in a similar initiative.
International Medical Corps is operating a 70-bed Ebola Treatment Unit in Bong County, Liberia, where its first responders are providing lifesaving care. In addition, International Medical Corps is establishing three additional Ebola treatment centers in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
These four centers will allow some 1.5 million people to receive care. Additionally, the charity will train some 3,500 medical workers who will be on the front lines to help affected people. Charities are working together in order to get the deadly disease under control. They are fighting to ensure it does not spread and turn into a global pandemic. Zuckerberg himself stated that, unless Ebola is stopped now, it could become global in the same way that HIV or Polio did, and everybody should work together to stop this.
Any money that is raised thanks to the Facebook initiative will go straight to the various charities. Some 1.3 billion people, who are Facebook users, will see the advertisement at least once. The donation button that immediately becomes visible will allow people to make any kind of donation they are able to afford. Additionally, Facebook has ensured that people who access the social network in affected countries are aware of what is happening.
Users in affected areas will see explanatory messages from UNICEF, a United Nations relief organisation, as part of an educational push.
This means that people will automatically be educated to some degree on how to protect themselves and their loved ones. They will also be made aware of the help that is out there for them. Everybody needs to play their part in the fight against Ebola and Facebook is certainly doing that.