The youngest victims of Ebola may have beaten death for now, but the legacy of their battle will continue to traumatize psychologically and materially. The nightmares will continue for many orphaned. With lesser opportunities for education, vocations and even love and marriage, many of the youngest Ebola survivors will be battling the consequences of the disease for the rest of their lives. UNICEF (the UN’s predominant Children’s Agency) Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom became the first “high profile” celebrity visitor to the Ebola affected regions of West Africa, namely Liberia.
While the threat of Ebola has receded from the headlines and minds in the US and Europe, it still continues in some of the previously affected areas. Liberia appears to have been most successful in countering Ebola. However, Sierra Leone and Guinea still continue the battle. The warning is clear, assuming now that the struggle is all but over could insure a losing future.
The battle to defeat Ebola also may be overshadowed now by the accusations that the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) may have been too slow initially to sound the alarm. Medecines Sans Frontieres, which has been particularly direct in the charge, continues to commit resources and volunteers to a region now also having lost many of its medical professionals to Ebola. The need for accountability from the WHO and other national and multilateral agencies is extreme, but the battle also is not over.
Orlando Bloom, as Diplomat-Artist, can perhaps galvanize our gaze upon continuing to fight the disease and as critically address the consequences upon the youngest global citizens in Liberia and the region. “Everyone I met was determined to beat Ebola so that they can resume their normal lives.” (Read more at UNICEF Press Release: “UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom Concludes Four-Day Visit to Liberia.”)