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Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Issues Surrounding Ebola

The following editorial and opinion pieces examine issues surrounding the Ebola outbreak.

Washington Post: Keeping an even keel at home on Ebola
Editorial Board

“The Ebola tidal wave is still flooding West Africa, running ahead of all efforts to contain it. … At the same time, the outbreak of the deadly virus has sliced through American politics and the media with a vengeance. Understandably, the specter of such a dangerous disease in the United States has bred fear. But it is remarkable how some public figures are inflaming that fear. … CDC Director Thomas Frieden had reassured the nation that the health care system could handle Ebola if the virus landed here. … [W]e think Dr. Frieden and others are wise to prepare for the worst, including by making sure that hospitals across the country know what to do if a patient shows symptoms that look like Ebola and have the ability to respond rapidly and effectively. At a time of tension, the nation’s public health leaders must not overpromise” (10/14).

The Hill: Ebola outbreak partly fueled by misguided priorities and misallocated resources
William O’Keefe, CEO of the George Marshall Institute and president of Solutions Consulting, Inc.

“…While the risk of an Ebola epidemic in the United States is believed to be small, it is a significant threat that will become even more serious if cases outside of West Africa become more numerous. As governments and health professionals focus on improving detection and treatments, it is fair to ask: What could we have done to better contain the risk? There is no single or simple answer. But one controllable condition is obvious: global poverty. … Past decisions on the allocation of resources can’t be undone, but the developed world can reset its priorities and concentrate on a serious problem that it knows how to solve — energy and global poverty… (10/14).

Huffington Post: For the Women of Liberia, a Long Road Ahead to Rebuild After Ebola Crisis
Krista Walton Potter, digital communications and editorial manager for the Global Fund for Women

“…One thing is certain: the impact of the current Ebola epidemic on Liberians will be long-term. … In order to help women on the road to recovery after the crisis — and to prevent backsliding when the next crisis hits — experts say investments need to be made in women and girls’ health, education, and empowerment on an enduring basis…” (10/14).

VICE: Ebola Isn’t a Medical Problem, It’s a People Problem
Martin Robbins, science journalist and VICE columnist

“…The spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa isn’t a medical problem so much as a social or a governmental problem. … As long as you have a well-functioning health system, trained staff, antiseptic environments to work in, basic medical supplies, and a good set of procedures in place, any outbreak can be swiftly contained. The trouble is, the parts of West Africa where this outbreak flared up have almost none of these things. … [H]owever well defended we think we are by our medicines, vaccines, antiseptics, and hazmat suits, we will never be safe until we deal with the failings of people. Ebola may not be the Big One, but the next disease could be” (10/14).

Wall Street Journal: How the U.S. Made the Ebola Crisis Worse
E. Fuller Torrey, associate director of the Stanley Medical Research Institute

“Amid discussions of quarantines, lockdowns, and doomsday death scenarios about Ebola, little has been said about the exodus of Africa’s health care professionals and how it has contributed to the outbreak. For 50 years, the U.S. and other Western nations have admitted health professionals — especially doctors and nurses — from poor countries, including Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, three nations at the heart of the Ebola epidemic. … Ebola may be merely the first of many prices to be paid for our long-standing but shortsighted health manpower policy. Surely the wealthiest country in the world should be able to produce sufficient health workers for its own needs and not take them from the poorest countries” (10/14).

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