Health, News

Canada Gives Aid, Vaccine, Supplies To Fight Disease In West Africa

An Ebola ward in Nigeria. Image: CDC Global
An Ebola ward in Nigeria. Image: CDC Global

Canada is sending 300,000 medical face masks to West Africa. The masks are to help healthcare workers there who are caring for people with a virus that was identified in Africa in March.

The virus, called Ebola, is not easy to catch, like a cold. That’s because it is only spread through direct contact with an infected person’s fluids, like blood. It’s important that doctors and nurses protect themselves when they are looking after the people who have the disease.

Most of the cases are in the countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in West Africa. Many of the areas affected don’t have enough ambulances, hospital beds or healthcare workers to take care of patients properly. Health organizations and other countries from around the world have stepped in to help care for the sick and prevent the virus from spreading further.

Canada is playing a major part in the global fight against the disease. In addition to the face masks, the Canadian government has also donated goggles and gloves to help protect healthcare workers.

Canada has also sent to mobile laboratories with teams of scientists to Sierra Leone. One lab is helping local healthcare workers to diagnose the disease quickly. The other lab will work with the international organization Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) to make sure proper steps are taken to prevent the spread of the disease.

Canadian doctors and aid workers are also working with organizations like the Red Cross, Red Crescent and Unicef in West Africa.

In September, Canada donated an experimental vaccine to the World Health Organization that may help prevent the spread of the disease.

The vaccine was developed by scientists from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) in Winnipeg. The drug will now be tested to make sure it is safe for people, and to figure out how much is needed to be effective against the virus.

Altogether, the Canadian government has contributed nearly $5.4 million in aid to relief organizations working in West Africa.

A spokesperson from PHAC says the risk of Ebola to Canadians is very low. There have been no cases of the disease in Canada.

This article was originally published October 14, 2014.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
The global community has come together to send aid and support to West Africa to fight Ebola. Canada has been a key contributor in this fight.

How does your local community come together to support each other, those in need and important causes?

Reading Prompt: Text Patterns
Newspaper articles are written using a special format: an inverted (upside down) triangle. The most important information is written at the beginning of the article and the information that is less important is written later in the article. Articles are written like this so people can only read the beginning of the article and still know what it is about.

In your opinion, what are the most important pieces of information in this article? Are they written at the beginning of the article?

Identify a variety of organizational patterns in a range of texts and explain how they help readers understand the texts (OME, Reading: 2.2).

Analyse increasingly complex texts to identify organizational patterns used in them and explain how the patterns help communicate meaning (OME, Reading: 2.2).

Language Feature: Writing Numbers 
Africa is a very large continent. The numbers that are used to measure it are as follows:
1. Population: 1,111,000,000
2. Number of countries: 54
3. Earliest human to have lived in Africa: 200,000 years ago
4. Area: 30, 221, 532 km2

Write these numbers using words.