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Opinion Pieces Discuss Ebola In DRC, WHO’s PHEIC Declaration

The Conversation: Why declaring Ebola a public health emergency isn’t a silver bullet
Yap Boum, professor in the faculty of Medicine at Mbarara University of Science and Technology and regional representative for Epicenter Africa

“…[T]he decision [to declare Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)] is not a silver bullet. The outbreak of a deadly disease within a conflict zone — and now in a major city — cannot be solved with a technical solution, such as more funding. … The Public Health Emergency of International Concern announcement is a call to the international community for action. But extra funds won’t be enough. The issue of unrest in North Kivu needs to be solved as it remains one of the major catalysts of this outbreak. Solving the outbreak requires a peaceful environment, wherein the community trusts the Ebola response team, and therefore, increase its engagement. Without a higher community awareness and engagement, it is difficult to see the end of Ebola outbreak in the DRC” (7/19).

The Conversation: Ebola epidemic officially declared a global health emergency
Mark Eccleston-Turner, lecturer of law at Keele University

“…The PHEIC declaration does not give WHO access to additional funding, but it can act as a call to the international community. This can mobilize political, financial, and technical support … Given the complex security and political matters affecting the response in the DRC, this declaration may motivate countries to bring the matter to other international forums. While not a requirement for action in U.N. bodies, the declaration of a PHEIC would be a clear signal from the world’s global health body that immediate and significant support is needed. The international community must now step up and provide WHO with the resources it needs to bring this outbreak under control as soon as possible. … Now that a declaration has been made, it is important that member states respond appropriately. This means giving WHO the resources it needs to bring the outbreak under control and respecting the recommendations Dr. Tedros has put in place” (7/19).

USA TODAY: Trump tweeted heartlessly about Ebola in 2014. He’s ill-equipped to handle 2019 outbreak.
Gabriel Schoenfeld, senior fellow at the Niskanen Center, member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors, and adviser to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign

“…We have been here before. In 2014, a major outbreak of [Ebola] occurred in the West African nation of Guinea and rapidly spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone. … Although not much noticed at the time, and largely forgotten today, [Donald] Trump, already contemplating his presidential run, posted dozens of tweets in response to the outbreak. … Many of Trump’s tweets advocated shutting down entry into the United States … Some sought to undercut President Barack Obama’s decision to send U.S. forces to West Africa … Some were directed at the American medical personnel who volunteered to travel to Africa to help contain the outbreak … Some tried to undermine the credibility of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention … Some revealed Trump’s well-known germaphobia … Most aimed to denigrate [President] Obama … With issues touching on race, immigration, and germs, the outbreak of Ebola in Congo could play seamlessly into his repertoire of xenophobic demagoguery. The only silver lining, if that is what it is, is that Donald Trump’s … tweets from the 2014 outbreak leave us amply forewarned about how our commander in chief is likely to behave” (7/22).