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Opinion Pieces Address Issues Surrounding Ebola Outbreak

The following opinion pieces discuss issues surrounding the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The Conversation: Without better public health systems, Ebola will be difficult to contain
Isoken Tito Aighewi, associate professor of environmental science and health at Benedict College

“…[W]hat has prevented this [Ebola] outbreak from being easily contained is the lack of public health infrastructure in the region. … Public health is all about preventing diseases before they happen and in poorer countries, the need is even greater. Moving forward, individual African nations and in collaboration with the African Union, should formulate public health policies and statutes for training, research, and developing infrastructure in line with what obtains in more technologically advanced nations…” (9/2).

Project Syndicate: The Ethics of Ebola
Donna Dickenson, emeritus professor of medical ethics and humanities at the University of London

“As the Ebola virus grips an unprecedentedly wide swath of Africa, many are asking whether it is time to begin administering untested drugs and vaccines. Given that the disease can kill up to 90 percent of its victims — higher than the mortality rate from the bubonic plague — there seems to be little to lose from relaxing clinical norms. But the suggestion raises difficult ethical questions — and the urgency of the situation does not leave much time for deliberation. … It is important to note that even pragmatic arguments about rationing scarce medical resources can be highly controversial. … [U]sing social, rather than medical, criteria for rationing treatments is a slippery slope…” (9/3).

Afri-Dev Information Service/AllAfrica: Africa: Ebola: Can Global Health Be Sustainably Promoted Without A Framework Convention for Global Health?
Eric Friedman, Lawrence Gostin, Mayowa Joel, and Rotimi Sankore, steering committee members of the Platform for a Framework Convention for Global Health

“…The international community is now scrambling to deal with a crisis, having failed for so long to take sustainable proactive measures needed to respond to global health hazards and pandemics, including the current Ebola outbreak. Where was a governing framework for global health — the spark to ignite the right to health for all — that could have built national and regional capacities to effectively prevent and contain such an uncontrolled outbreak in the first place? … The Ebola outbreak demonstrates that economic growth and regional development can be brought to a shuddering halt if not based on sound investment in health and human and social development. … A global legal framework to ensure everyone the right to health would be a transformative step towards global justice…” (9/2).

New York Times: Lessons Learned from the Ebola Epidemic
Ken Isaacs, vice president of programs and government relations for Samaritan’s Purse.

“…I share these lessons because I am frustrated about the continued lack of respect for this disease among those who have the best resources to fight it. … Those of us who are still witnessing Ebola’s destructive path through West Africa are committed to continuing the fight. We are taking the lessons we have already learned and applying them to new strategies in areas such as ground logistics, the deployment of skilled personnel, the provision of fuel oil, payment of salaries, and the education and engagement of local populations. I admit there are times when the battle feels overwhelming. I pray the international community will immediately and exponentially increase its efforts. There are still lives that can be saved” (9/2).

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