Every year, Time magazine names its selection for the most influential person of the year. In 2012 it was Barack Obama, in 2013 to Pope Francis, and now in 2014 the cover went to not one person, but a whole host of worthy candidates: The healthcare workers engaged in fighting the Ebola epidemic.
The recent Ebola outbreak has been a devastating one, particularly in Africa, where the has killed more than 7,000 people. Time chose to honor the caregivers who risk their lives daily as they combat the disease and treat the victims of the virus. While the disease still has no vaccine, these healthcare providers are putting themselves at risk every single day.
“The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women are willing to stand and fight,” wrote Time managing editor Nancy Gibb, explaining the magazine’s selection. “For tireless acts of courage and mercy, for buying the world time to boost its defenses, for risking, for persisting, for sacrificing and saving, the Ebola fighters are Time‘s 2014 Person of the Year.”
The magazine will feature five healthcare workers on its cover: Dr. Keny Brantly, who contracted Ebola while treating the disease in West Africa, nurse aide Salome Karwah, Doctors Without Borders volunteer Ella Watson-Stryker, ambulance team supervisor Foday Galla, and Dr. Jerry Brown.
It’s a worthy selection and a necessary reminder of the daily courage it requires for healthcare workers to be out in the field, battling an epidemic. Not to mention a very worthy salute to the brave people who are doing everything the can to help those already ill, and keep the rest of the world safe.