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Human Behavior, Lack Of Adequate Resources, Attention Prevent Progress In ‘Ebola Impasse’

Foreign Policy: Ebola Has Gotten So Bad, It’s Normal
Laurie Garrett, founder of the Anthropos Initiative

“…Despite having a tool kit at its disposal that is unrivaled — including a vaccine, new diagnostics, experimental treatments, and a strong body of knowledge regarding how to battle the hemorrhage-causing virus — the small army of international health responders and humanitarian workers in Congo is playing whack-a-mole against a microbe that keeps popping up unexpectedly and proving impossible to control. This is not because of any special attributes of the classic strain of Ebola … but because of humans and their behaviors in a quarter-century-old war zone. … It’s hard to know what steps could break the Ebola impasse. Warring forces have shown little inclination to give the disease hunters free rein across the region. … If Ebola [spreads to Uganda, Rwanda, or South Sudan], the world community will face tough choices. Option one: Keep on muddling through with the tools, personnel, and funding that have carried the response to date. Option two: Declare a global public health emergency, escalating financing and on-the-ground response to the multibillion-dollar scale seen in West Africa. Option three: Dedicate massive financial resources to pushing Merck and other vaccine-makers to rapidly manufacture millions of doses, and deploy literal armies, acting as security alongside an enormous public health deployment to immunize tens of millions of people in the region. Maybe we’ll all get lucky, and the virus will just peter out. But there’s no reason to think it will” (1/15).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.