International Community Should Strengthen Local Health Systems To Address Outbreaks, Other Health Issues, Says Opinion Piece

Newsweek: Measles Is Now Killing More People In The DRC Than Ebola
Jeremy Rossman, honorary senior lecturer in virology and president of Research-Aid Networks at the University of Kent, and Matthew Badham, PhD candidate in molecular virology at the University of Kent

“Ebola outbreaks, such as the current one in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which has claimed 2,074 people’s lives, are widely covered in the media. But another virus is ravaging the DRC with minimal publicity. That virus is measles. … In July 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the current Ebola outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, partly in response to international pressure and fear of the disease spreading to other countries. Measles has been given no such status. … How then should the international community respond to outbreaks to protect both the overall health of a community and the global spread of a specific disease? Perhaps the solution is as recently proposed by Doctors Without Borders and The Alliance for International Medical Action. They suggested that instead of the international community delivering targeted aid for only Ebola, resources should be deployed to strengthen local infrastructure and provide a decentralized capacity to provide care to all communities. This may enable a country to contain an Ebola outbreak while still responding to outbreaks of other infectious and non-infectious diseases, providing better care for local communities…” (9/19).