A good way to learn about an aid organization is to see it at work on a current issue. AmeriCares is one of the organizations currently sending aid to countries affected by the recent West African Ebola outbreak.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are directly involved in what is being called the largest recorded Ebola outbreak in history. At least 700 people have already died, with 1,300 more infected. What’s worse, there is no vaccine for Ebola and the fatality rate is almost 60 percent.

AmeriCares has sent three shipments of emergency medical equipment to the affected countries. The delivery weighed 2,700 pounds and included tens of thousands of surgical masks and caps, gloves and various medical supplies.

Support like this is desperately needed in the affected countries, as they are lacking in medical equipment and supplies. Liberia and Sierra Leone have stated that the demand for intravenous fluids is rapidly outnumbering the supply.

Luckily, in conjunction with Baxter International Inc., AmeriCares is sending enough intravenous fluid for 3,000 patients. This should cover everyone affected in both countries for the near future.

AmeriCares is a U.S. based non-profit founded in 1982. Its main goal is to provide direct aid assistance during times of crisis. According to their website, they “deliver medicines, medical supplies and humanitarian aid to a trusted network of clinics, hospitals and health care providers around the world.”

Even though direct aid during times of crisis is its main form of support, it still tries to foster sustainable healthcare practices and to “increase capacity, improve quality and provide more access to health care in the world’s poorest countries.”

This means giving medicine and medical attention to people that would otherwise not be able to afford it. For example, in Romania a boy with hemophilia was given the treatment of Factor VIII so that he could live a normal life. Or in Cambodia, where a woman with breast cancer now has access to the medicine and equipment necessary for her treatment.

AmeriCares’ website has dozens of examples of the everyday lives it changes by simply allowing for access to medical facilities and supplies.

Besides the recent Ebola outbreak, AmeriCares is working on other current crises: it has delivered $19.7 million in relief aid to the Philippines in response to the destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan. It states that its money is used for, “medicines and medical supplies, antibiotics, chronic care meds, bandages, nutritional supplements, blankets and other relief supplies for hospitals and health centers.” AmeriCares sends volunteers to help in the relief effort, as well.

AmeriCares is also active in the Syrian Conflict. In June 2013, it sent a response team to Jordan and Turkey to assess the situation of Syrian refugees. So far, $2 million have been sent in medical aid for the refugee camps.

The amount of medical aid sent will help around 67,000 people affected by this crisis.

– Eleni Marino

Sources: The Guardian, It’s Relevant, AmeriCares, Charity Navigator
Photo: New York CBS