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Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of Ebola Epidemic, Responses

Wall Street Journal: Poll: Ebola Was a Bigger Story Than the Midterms
Drew Altman, president and chief executive officer of the Kaiser Family Foundation

“…When the Kaiser Family Foundation surveyed the [American] public for our Kaiser Health News Index, we found that the public followed Ebola in the U.S. more closely than any other story over the past month — and much more closely than the midterm elections. … Public attention may have been driven by fear that Ebola would spread in the U.S., the Ebola media frenzy, the gripping human-interest stories, or a combination of all these. Ebola in West Africa was the second most closely followed story, suggesting that Ebola was truly on the public’s radar screen. … So what does it say that Americans followed a public health threat here more closely than our national elections? We didn’t ask which story they thought was more important to the future of the nation. But it’s possible that would have elicited a different answer” (11/24).

Foreign Affairs: The Real Cost of Ebola: Letter From Monrovia
Javier Alvarez, country director for Mercy Corps in Liberia

“…To encourage as quick a recovery as possible, programming aimed at improving local economic health, restoring incomes to normal levels, strengthening the agricultural sector (including ensuring that farmers resume normal planting in 2015), and improving transport conditions is absolutely necessary. To be sure, containing the spread of the virus remains the priority in Liberia. The country and the international aid community must also work to lessen the economic impact of the Ebola crisis. Indeed, steps can be taken to achieve both of those goals, provided they are done in consultation with health authorities…” (11/24).

Dallas Morning News: Ebola’s scary, but we have plenty of neglected diseases at home
Jim Landers, columnist

“…As with Ebola, the many pathways linking Dallas to the rest of the world have made [neglected diseases] local illnesses. Every global city has similar health problems. Neglected tropical diseases have the attention of U.S. government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for International Development, and from other governments and health care relief groups. Many major pharmaceutical companies have been willing to help if funding can be made available so they at least break even. … Meanwhile, poverty, climate, and conflict are helping these diseases gain the upper hand…” (11/24).

Inter Press Service: How Ebola Could End the Cuban Embargo
Arturo Lopez-Levy, visiting lecturer at Mills College

“…It’s rare for politicians from these two countries to stray from the narratives of suspicion and intransigence that have prevented productive collaboration for over half a century. Yet that’s just what has happened in the last few weeks, as Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power spoke favorably of Cuba’s medical intervention in West Africa, and Cuban President Raul Castro and former president Fidel Castro signaled their willingness to cooperate with U.S. efforts to stem the epidemic. As it causes devastation in West Africa and strikes fear in the United States and around the world, Ebola has few upsides. But one of them may be the opportunity to change the nature of U.S.-Cuban relations, for the public good…” (11/24).

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