Opinion Pieces, Editorial Discuss Responses To DRC Ebola Outbreak, U.S. Epidemic Preparedness

Science: Still not ready for Ebola
Thomas R. Frieden, president and chief executive officer of Resolve to Save Lives

“…No matter how long this Ebola outbreak [in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)] continues, the world faces critical tests in its battle against deadly pathogens. … Globally, we must address three issues to tackle Ebola and other deadly pathogens. One is community engagement. … Another issue is WHO’s effectiveness. … Most important, the entire world needs to support countries, including DRC, that have undergone voluntary external assessments of preparedness, known as Joint External Evaluations (JEEs). … The United States, historically a leader on global health security, now risks falling behind in pandemic preparedness. … As the latest Ebola outbreak reminds us, if the CDC’s funding is not protected, the agency will not be able to help protect us. Because an outbreak can spread from a remote area to any major city in the world in 36 hours or less, we are all at risk. And as long as some countries remain at risk, none of us is safe” (6/8).

Global Health NOW: Lessons Learned and Forgotten in Ebola Response
Craig Spencer, director of global health in emergency medicine at Columbia University Medical Center and assistant professor at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

“…As a professor who teaches about the ‘lessons unlearned’ in public health emergencies — and as an Ebola survivor myself — the swift and improved international response to the DRC Ebola outbreak is heartening. … Thankfully the improvements at the international level have helped contain the DRC outbreak. However, if it developed into a global epidemic, the U.S. would be poorly positioned to respond and American lives would be at risk. … I’m not optimistic this administration will heed [experts’] advice to identify the funding and leadership necessary for epidemic response. … The U.S. cannot forget the lessons learned from our previous public health failures. We need to commit the financial resources to the places where the next epidemic might occur and ensure we have strong global health leadership in place to lead our response” (6/7).

Dallas Morning News: Ebola funding restored by the White House shouldn’t have been cut in the first place
Editorial Board

“Here’s the thing about a health crisis. When you are in the middle of it, nearly everyone is on board with pulling out the stops to solve it. But once it passes, apathy can set in and inertia can rule the day. That’s a simplified version of where we nearly ended up with Ebola. Four years ago, the highly contagious and deadly virus showed up in our city and fears of an outbreak spread across the nation. … [I]n recent weeks President Donald Trump announced he would [rescind] $252 million in federal Ebola funds… This week the White House reversed course and restored the Ebola funds (and a few hundred million in other spending). We commend the president for this decision, but then this Ebola funding never should have been on the chopping block. … Preventing such a disease from reaching an American city requires investing now, before a crisis is again upon us” (6/6).

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.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

www.kff.org | Email Alerts: kff.org/email | facebook.com/KaiserFamilyFoundation | twitter.com/kff

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