Editorials, Opinion Pieces Address Issues Surrounding Ebola
The following editorials and opinion pieces discuss various aspects of the Ebola epidemic.
New York Times: The Worsening Ebola Crisis
“…The pace of international aid needs to be stepped up dramatically. … President Obama needs personally to ramp up the urgency of the American response and the level and speed of the resources provided. … The CDC is urging all hospitals, no matter how small, to take travel histories to identify any patients who have been in West Africa within the past 21 days, and immediately place those with Ebola-like symptoms in isolation. The CDC plans to increase its training efforts for hospital personnel … But all of these efforts, however useful, pale against this country’s much larger responsibility to help defeat the disease at its source” (10/13).
SFGate: How to fight (the next) Ebola
“…Ebola emerged 40 years ago, but the biggest reason there is no cure or vaccine is that pharmaceutical companies, focused on profits, decided it wasn’t worth developing vaccines or remedies for a virus that overwhelmingly affected only the world’s poorer regions. Now those decisions are coming back to haunt all of us. … One potential solution, which has been endorsed by economists and has been successfully used by other countries seeking scientific solutions, would be to offer a prize for pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs in neglected categories. … A lot of money? Yes. Yet we’re learning just how expensive it is to do nothing” (10/14).
New York Times: The Instruction of Pestilence
Roger Cohen, New York Times columnist
“…Plague and epidemics are a thing of the past, of course they are. … A virus contracted in West Africa, perhaps by a man hunting fruit bats in a tropical forest to feed his family, and cutting the bat open, cannot affect a nurse in Dallas, Texas, who has been wearing protective clothing as she tended a patient who died. Except that it does. ‘Pestilence is in fact very common,’ Camus observes, ‘but we find it hard to believe in a pestilence when it descends upon us’…” (10/13).
Washington Post: U.S. hospitals not prepared for Ebola threat
RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United
“With reports that a nurse who treated Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas has been infected, one thing urgently needs to be made clear: Our hospitals are not prepared to confront the deadly virus. … And Ebola is exposing a broader problem: the sober reality of our fragmented, uncoordinated private health care system. We have enormous health care resources in the United States. What we lack is a national, integrated system needed to respond effectively to a severe national threat such as Ebola. … We know what works: a federal agency with the authority to ensure local, state, and national coordination in response to outbreaks…” (10/13).
The Guardian: We can no longer ignore Ebola’s wider impact — particularly on women
Jeanne Kamara, Sierra Leone country manager for Christian Aid
“…Each day brings stories of the hidden harm [of Ebola] to all facets of people’s lives, including education, maternal health care, food security, and livelihoods. From the accounts I’ve heard, one thing is evident: women are particularly vulnerable to the virus. … Thanks to [Sierra Leone’s] national free health care initiative (for pregnant women, lactating mothers, and children under five), we had made some strides in getting pregnant women to move away from using traditional birth attendants. Sadly, there is now a huge decrease in the numbers of women going to clinics for antenatal care and deliveries. … Meanwhile, access to family planning services is limited. This means that the meager gains are being further eroded…” (10/14).
CNBC: Budget cuts are NOT why there’s no Ebola vaccine
Jake Novak, supervising producer of “Street Signs”
“…NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins has it a bit wrong when he blamed government budget cuts as the reason that we don’t have a fully-approved and stocked Ebola vaccine already. Where he misses the mark is by not realizing that too much government involvement changes the priorities from vital projects like eradicating killer diseases and makes a priority out of political patronage and pet projects. Regulation and control of drug development makes that vital process too dependent on politics and budget cuts in the first place. All those regulations and controls discourage the for-profit pharma industry from the vaccination business almost entirely…” (10/13).
Wall Street Journal: No More Ebola Whac-A-Mole
Nathan Wolfe, founder and CEO of Metabiota
“…[U]nless the world takes broader, more coordinated steps aimed at anticipating outbreaks like Ebola and controlling them early, we’ll be vulnerable to this and other devastating diseases. … Guarding against the threat means putting in place robust, resilient laboratory and surveillance infrastructure in those parts of the world — Africa and elsewhere, most notably Asia — most susceptible to viral epidemics, and we must support regional scientists and health experts who will sustain this infrastructure at all times. Local political leaders have to buy in to this effort, and countries and governmental agencies in the region will need to coordinate their work…” (10/13).