Ebola and Beyond
The Ebola outbreaks, specifically in Africa, but also spreading to other locations could become a major threat to the United States and other nations.
Containing this outbreak is important for the most impacted nations and peoples. Even as the virus is slowing in some areas, in others it continues to grow. The United States and other countries should continue to provide focus as well as human and financial resources to this battle.
However, two key points need to be addressed to move beyond this outbreak of a deadly virus and work toward longer-term solutions to prevent future outbreaks of Ebola and other deadly viruses.
First, public and political fear mongering, finger pointing, and the spread of misinformation must end. And second, we must better understand some underlying factors that have led to continued outbreaks.
Health experts now know how to retain this Ebola epidemic and to treat those already infected. However there are now too few health workers and too little supplies, medicine, or support available where they most crucially needed.
Additionally, health systems around the world have varying levels of capacity and expertise. It is no surprise that outbreaks such as the latest round of Ebola outbreaks are more likely to occur and spread in regions with poor health systems. More human and financial resources need to be dedicated to these areas from within these nations and also from international sources.
However, a recurring problem with aid to these nations is that resources are often diverted by dysfunctional or outright corrupt leadership within many of these developing nations. As we work toward long-term solutions this reality must be addressed in our foreign policy and approach to foreign aid.
The United States, for humanitarian reasons and for the protection of our national health and economic status, must be a leader among nations in providing the millions of dollars, thousands of health workers, extensive support and transportation required first to contain this Ebola epidemic and treat patients suffering from it, and then to develop and distribute better medicines for treating and vaccines for preventing the horrible disease.
It is our country’s duty to our residents and to the peoples of the world to act now in conjunction with other countries and to provide the critically needed major financial, human, medical, logistical and other resources.
We in ADA urge President Obama and members of Congress to act swiftly on combating Ebola and to consider more appropriate measures for aid and guidance in helping developing nations build functioning health systems.