Opinion Pieces Explore Issues Related To Outbreak Preparedness, Prevention, Including Security, Community Trust, Resilient Health Systems
Foreign Affairs: To Cure Ebola Will Take More Than a Pill
Laura Seay, assistant professor of government at Colby College
“…[The Democratic Republic of Congo] has experienced ten Ebola outbreaks since 1976, and its health authorities are adept at identifying and isolating infected individuals, tracing and monitoring exposure networks, and controlling the spread of the virus. But as the current outbreak in the eastern province of North Kivu has shown, no amount of medical preparedness can overcome the difficulties of fighting an outbreak under conditions of insecurity. … Eradicating Ebola in Congo will require building public trust among Congolese and working with community organizations in order to reach vulnerable populations and overcome governance issues. … Working closely with religious institutions and community organizations, coming up with innovative solutions, and building trust within the population will ultimately allow responders to defeat the Ebola virus in eastern Congo. But given the daunting challenge responders face — an extremely insecure environment, population movements, and high levels of mistrust — it will be an uphill battle” (9/4).
Japan Times: How to stop deadly outbreaks of diseases like Ebola — before they occur
Keizo Takemi, member of the House of Councilors and World Health Organization goodwill ambassador for universal health coverage, and Achim Steiner, administrator of the U.N. Development Programme
“…The [Ebola outbreak] in the DRC highlights that the need to build resilient health systems is just as important as developing new technologies to address the health challenges faced by the world’s most vulnerable populations. Innovations like the Ebola vaccine can only be effective if we can get them to the communities most in need. … Ensuring access to vital health innovations that can benefit the poor and vulnerable requires significant investment as well as new partnerships. … The Access and Delivery Partnership — a collaboration between the government of Japan, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Health Organization, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, and PATH — is supporting developing countries to strengthen their health systems, including by addressing challenges in policy and regulatory environments. … We must all work together to ensure everyone, no matter where they live, has access to quality health care that they need not only to survive but also to ensure that they can live a healthy life — one of the crucial targets set out in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals…” (9/4).