U.S. Should Prioritize WASH Efforts To Respond To DRC’s Ebola Outbreak

Fox News: Bill Frist: Lessons not learned in Congo’s Ebola outbreak
Bill H. Frist, former U.S. Senate majority leader and chair of the executive board of Cressey & Company

“…Preventing and containing disease outbreaks — and delivering adequate health care — is impossible with no clean water, no soap, and no toilets. … While there is no doubt that the [Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC)] Ebola outbreak has grown increasingly complex, the global health community must focus attention on not just the immediate problem, but the foundational weaknesses that cripple the prevention and containment of a range of potential pandemic diseases … [I]mproved hygiene is the most powerful and cost-effective way to prevent and contain illnesses, protect vulnerable newborns and the immune-suppressed, prevent person-to-person transmission, avoid antibiotic resistance, and stop global pandemics. … From health security to economic security, it’s in our nation’s best interest to elevate this issue and augment these efforts. … The U.S. Agency for International Development must continue to elevate the fundamental importance of WASH in its overall work (in accordance with the 2017 Global Water Strategy) and adopt an agency-wide policy that WASH be made available in every health care facility in which the agency is active. … The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must ensure that WASH in health care facilities is integrated into its existing programs related to pandemic disease preparation, prevention, and control. … [The outbreak in the DRC] should be a harsh reminder that pandemics know no borders and investing in prevention is the best cure” (7/6).

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