UPDATE: RNRN Ebola Alert – Help Healthcare Workers in West Africa Now
"This is not just a problem for West Africa, it’s not just a problem for Africa. It’s a problem for the world, and the world needs to respond. Like it or not, we live in an interconnected world.” –Dr. Tom Frieden, Director, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
RNRN continues to work to save lives by getting protective gear to nurses who are treating patients exposed to or diagnosed with Ebola. The crisis does not show any signs of abating, and there are now almost daily reports of new infections and threats to the safety of healthcare workers at the front lines.
ACT NOW RN SURVEY
Ebola continues to spread in West Africa, with the total number of cases exceeding 3,500, and a death toll of more than 1,900 in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone; Senegal reported their first case on August 28.
Dr Joanne Liu, International President of Medicins sans Frontieres (MSF, aka Doctors without Borders) painted a stark picture this week of the conditions leading to the deaths of hundreds of healthcare workers, and described how patients are now lacking even basic medical care as workers themselves protest the unsafe conditions that are putting them at risk. "In West Africa, cases and deaths continue to surge," Dr Liu told the UN. "Riots are breaking out. Isolation centers are overwhelmed. Health workers on the frontline are becoming infected and are dying in shocking numbers. Others have fled in fear, leaving people without care for even the most common illnesses. Entire health systems have crumbled."
The Ebola outbreak is now being described as an outbreak that is outpacing the efforts to control it. "It is impossible to keep up with the sheer number of infected people pouring into facilities,” Dr. Liu said. “In Sierra Leone, infectious bodies are rotting in the streets. Rather than building new Ebola care centers in Liberia, we are forced to build crematoria."
RNRN is working with the International Medical Corps (IMC), in order to procure much needed protective equipment that will be placed directly into the hands of the healthcare workers on the front lines of the epidemic. IMC is on the ground in Liberia and Sierra Leone helping to thwart the spread of the disease. In Liberia, they are finalizing plans to open a treatment facility to provide direct care for Ebola patients in rural Bong County, four hours outside of Monrovia. In both countries, IMC is procuring urgently needed supplies, including personal protective equipment, and training frontline healthcare workers on their use and how to stay safe while treating patients. RNRN’s fundraising drive is directly supporting this work, please donate now to protect health workers on the front lines.
Nurses working in the affected countries are risking their lives to take care of their patients. At Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone (where the countries first case was diagnosed) alone, more than 24 nurses, doctors and support staff have died of Ebola. The journal ScienceInsider pays tribute to five of those workers here http://news.sciencemag.org/health/2014/08/ebolas-heavy-toll-study-authors.
RNRN is ready to help provide the desperately needed protective gear and supplies that will save health workers’ lives. The cost of a full set of personal protective equipment is approximately $350, and IMC estimates that at least 25,000 suits are needed per month to meet the demand and provide the needed protection. Anything that you can give will make a difference. The protective equipment includes scrubs, gum boots, gloves, suit, mask, hood, apron and goggles to ensure that no part of the body is left exposed. Ebola spreads by direct contact with bodily fluid of those infected.
You can make a difference. Please join RNRN/NNU in our call for donations, and spreading the word about this life saving fundraising drive. Your support will help us procure these urgently needed supplies, deliver them to doctors and nurses on the frontlines, and train staff on their use.
Is Your Hospital Prepared for the Ebola Virus?
One of the first potential Ebola cases in the nation appeared at Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento in late August. Thankfully the patient tested negative for Ebola. The CDC has investigated 68 potential cases of Ebola in 29 states, and all but two cases have been ruled out as Ebola. The remaining two cases have results pending.
CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden recently said that an outbreak of Ebola in the U.S. is unlikely, but that hospitals could see isolated cases of returning travelers who exhibit symptoms associated with the disease.
In light of the serious nature of the Ebola outbreak, National Nurses United’s RNRN has issued a nationwide call to government agencies to affirm their adherence to Center for Disease Control guidelines to protect healthcare personnel, patients and the public from this infection.
“We are hearing reports from nurses that they don’t feel safe at their hospitals. Nurses are concerned that the CDC guidelines are not being followed,” said RoseAnn DeMoro, Executive Director of National Nurses United. “These reports are another example of the inadequacies of our current healthcare system, where profit is more important than safe patient care.”
“This potential exposure of patients and health workers illustrates the critical need for planning, preparedness, and protection at the highest level in hospitals throughout the nation,” said Bonnie Castillo, Director of CNA/NNU’s RNRN.
Nurses are on the front lines of any public health emergency. Please join us in gathering information about the level of preparedness in our hospitals.
WE NEED YOUR INPUT AND YOUR DONATIONS.
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:
1. Please fill out the survey so that we can better determine the safety standards in your acute care hospital, and determine next steps to ensure the safest patient care.
2. Donate to the RNRN’s drive to protect nurses caring for Ebola patients.
Ebola viruses are transmitted through direct contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected person, or through exposure to needles that have been contaminated with infected blood or bodily fluids. Healthcare workers must exercise extreme caution and follow CDC guidelines to insure protection from the virus.
You can make a difference for healthcare workers abroad and at home by filling out a survey and/or donating today. Please take action to stem the tide of this terrible virus.
California Nurses Foundation
Registered Nurse Response Network
2000 Franklin St. Oakland, CA 94612
RNRN Disaster Relief Fund: National Nurses United and the Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN) work to send nurses to disaster stricken areas both inside the U.S. and internationally. Please complete this secure donation form and share it with friends to ensure that RNs are among the first responders. RNRN is a project of the NNU and the California Nurses Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Donations are secure, and tax-deductible to the extent of the law.
RNRN is a project of the California Nurses Foundation (CNF)*, working in cooperation with National Nurses United (NNU). NNU is the nation’s largest and fastest growing union of direct-care RNs, representing more than 170,000 RNs in all 50 states. We are our patient’s safety net. RNs are in a unique position to continue our long and proud history as social advocates, fighting for and providing equitable healthcare for all. *CNF is a nonprofit, founded in 1971, dedicated to charitable, scientific and educational purposes.