Every day, Saran Kaba Jones calls her family in Liberia to make sure they have not contracted the deadly Ebola virus ravaging the country. Her relatives have already seen several loved ones succumb to the virus, and they worry it’s a matter of time before it hits one of them.
Jones is the founder and chief executive officer of FACE Africa, a Boston nonprofit that works to bring clean water to Liberia but now is hoping to help slow the spread of Ebola. Her group, along with other Boston-based organizations, is shipping medical supplies and spearheading education campaigns.
“There’s a lot of fear. People are really afraid,” said Jones, who was in Liberia in May and June. “Both the government and people in general weren’t really taking the outbreak seriously until it really started to rapidly spread and the number of casualties started to increase. That’s when we all started to really wake up and pay attention.”
Since February, Ebola has claimed almost 1,000 lives and infected more than 1,700 people in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, according to the World Health Organization, which last Friday declared the outbreak an international public health emergency.
Other Boston organizations are collecting medical gear and training and deploying health workers to treat Liberians infected with the hemorrhagic fever, which is spread through direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids.
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