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Strengthening Health Systems Important For Effective Ebola, Future Disease Response, Opinion Pieces Say

The following opinion pieces address issues surrounding the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, including strengthening the health systems in affected countries.

SciDev.Net: Ebola response: The real measure of success
Anita Makri, opinion and special features editor at SciDev.Net

“…Médecins Sans Frontières has warned that the current outbreak will last at least six more months. Our measure of success in responding to it shouldn’t be just about stopping its spread or about discussing the fine points of the WHO’s response, which was one of the main subjects of debate during coverage of the 2009 flu pandemic. It should also be about heeding the warning sign by doing more to make sure developing countries are better resourced to deal with any infectious disease, emerging or not. With SARS, swine flu, and Ebola having struck within a matter of years, we as a global community have been warned enough” (8/19).

Project Syndicate: Health in a Time of Ebola
Prabhjot Singh, professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University, director of systems design at the Earth Institute, and chair of the One Million Community Health Worker Campaign in Sub-Saharan Africa

“…[B]uttressed by the organizations behind the One Million CHWs campaign, [affected] countries are already working to scale up CHWs. But they need more support, and international agencies and development banks remain too focused on containing the Ebola epidemic to offer the needed backing. International organizations must recognize that they do not have to choose between supporting traditional health care investments and emergency response efforts. Long-term investment in credible health care systems is the only way to head off future epidemics. Otherwise, sub-Saharan Africa’s people will forever struggle to overcome avoidable health crises” (8/18).

Huffington Post: In Africa: Ebola Epidemic Exposes Underlying Cracks in the Health System
Jeffrey Sturchio, president and CEO of Rabin Martin

“…The Ebola emergency has shone a bright light on underlying problems of the African health system, opening a Pandora’s box of neglected issues that need priority attention. The outbreak demonstrates the critical need to strengthen health systems overall and dramatically increase the number of health workers, particularly in poor and rural areas where diseases can thrive undetected. … [M]ore must be done to sustain [Africa’s] gains in both health and economic development. Ensuring the success of African countries is crucial for overall global economic growth, and safeguarding the health of its people is critical to achieving that goal…” (8/19).

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