Opinion Pieces Discuss Issues Surrounding West African Ebola Outbreak

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

Washington Post: The world yawns as Ebola takes hold in West Africa
Richard Besser, chief health editor at ABC News

“…There’s no cure for Ebola, but supportive treatment as simple as supplementary fluids can save lives and slow the spread of the disease. But many treatment centers are unable to provide even rudimentary care. Last week, the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for more support for the region. … In my 13 years at the CDC, I never witnessed an outbreak as disturbing as this one. We have the tools to save thousands of lives, but our response has been inadequate. We underestimated this epidemic, and the people of West Africa are paying for it. We know how to control Ebola. It’s time to step up and get the job done” (9/11).

Washington Post: A concrete response to the Ebola outbreak cannot wait
Joanne Liu, international president of Médecins Sans Frontières

“…This Ebola outbreak is akin to a war, claiming lives, destroying communities, and perpetuating fear. No country could be expected to manage such a disaster without additional support. … Countries cannot focus solely on measures to protect their own borders. Only by battling the epidemic at its roots can we stem it. This is a transnational crisis, with social, economic, and security implications for the African continent. We cannot cut off the affected countries and hope this epidemic will simply burn out. To put out this fire, we must run into the burning building” (9/11).

New York Times: What We’re Afraid to Say About Ebola
Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota

“The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has the potential to alter history as much as any plague has ever done. … There are two possible future chapters to this story that should keep us up at night. The first possibility is that the Ebola virus spreads from West Africa to megacities in other regions of the developing world. … The second possibility is one that virologists are loath to discuss openly but are definitely considering in private: that an Ebola virus could mutate to become transmissible through the air. … This is about humanitarianism and self-interest. If we wait for vaccines and new drugs to arrive to end the Ebola epidemic, instead of taking major action now, we risk the disease’s reaching from West Africa to our own backyards” (9/11).

New York Times: A Closer Look at the Ebola Epidemic in the Context of Ecological Health
Andrew Revkin, writer at the New York Times Dot Earth blog

“The Ebola epidemic continues to rage in West Africa, and while it is very unlikely to reach pandemic scale … the outbreak provides a reminder of the linkages between disrupted ecosystems and human illness…” Revkin highlights blog pieces that explore this issue (9/11).

Inter Press Service: Ebola Crisis Reversing Development Gains in Liberia
Antonio Vigilante, deputy special representative of the secretary general, U.N. resident coordinator and UNDP representative in Liberia

“As the Ebola crisis continues to take a toll on people’s lives and livelihoods in West Africa, the focus is increasingly not just on the health aspects of the crisis, but also on its social and economic consequences. … The resurgence of the Ebola crisis since July and its gradual escalation into a national emergency in Liberia has diverted the focus and resources available to the authorities to the containment of the virus. In this phase of the crisis, it is necessary to act on all fronts to meet the devastating health, social, and economic challenges before Liberia and other affected countries see all their hard-won development gains dwindle to nothing” (9/11).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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