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Editorials, Opinion Pieces Discuss Issues Surrounding Ebola Outbreak

The following editorials and opinion pieces discuss issues surrounding the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The Economist: Ebola: Unseating the first horseman
Editorial Board

“…It is no coincidence that the countries now affected by Ebola are some of the worst governed in the world. Public health is not a priority there, which is why it took months to notice what was happening. … One lesson learned from recent successes against AIDS, malaria, and TB is that victory comes only when the whole infrastructure of health, including the active involvement of local people, is promoted. As places get richer (as many African nations now are), more money for public health becomes available. With luck, then, outbreaks such as the current one will get rarer in the future…” (8/16).

New York Times: A Painfully Slow Ebola Response
Editorial Board

“…Unfortunately, the three countries most affected — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — are among the poorest and most war-racked in the world and have very weak health care systems. They desperately need help in organizing their responses. The WHO should be filling that role, but it has been shamefully slow. … The big unanswered question is who will be available to provide hands-on care as the number of cases continues to mount…” (8/15).

Washington Post: Time to cut the hype and focus on the real dangers of Ebola
Editorial Board

“…It is time to see the Ebola outbreak area as a global disaster zone and commit to what will probably be months of grueling work in challenging conditions, in locations of ‘extreme poverty, [with] dysfunctional health systems, a severe shortage of doctors and rampant fear,’ as the WHO put it. Either the world mobilizes now, or the next fight against the disease will be even more frightening” (8/17).

New York Times: Can Statins Help Treat Ebola?
David Fedson, retired professor of medicine at the University of Virginia, and Steven Opal, professor of medicine at Brown University

“…Surprising as it may seem, we believe that several widely available drugs that were initially developed to treat patients with cardiovascular diseases and diabetes may be effective [against Ebola]. … [T]he best evidence we have suggests that Ebola patients and their doctors should be given a chance to consider the benefits as well as the risks that these drugs may offer. Nothing should stop physicians from using them as long as they document the impact of treatment on disease outcome…” (8/15).

Foreign Policy: You Are Not Nearly Scared Enough About Ebola
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“Attention, World: You just don’t get it. … ‘Getting it,’ in this epidemic, means realizing that over the next six to 12 months, these countries will needs millions of dollars’ worth of basic supplies, hundreds of highly skilled health care workers, including logistics supplies officers, and self-sufficiency for all foreigners (food, water, personal supplies)…” (8/14).

Foreign Policy: The Cure for Ebola Is Accountability
Blair Glencorse, executive director of the Accountability Lab, and Brooks Marmon, an accountability architect for the Lab in Liberia

“…The governments in the region and the international community are finally getting serious about a coordinated response to Ebola. Sadly, however, these measures only treat the symptoms and not the causes of the problem — which at their core are issues of corruption, mismanagement, and a lack of accountability of those in power to their people. … As a result, the Ebola challenges are now evolving into larger problems of instability in the region…” (8/14).

Huffington Post: The West Africa Ebola Epidemic Arouses Global Response But Caution Needs an Ally and a Local Interpreter
Sharon Hrynkow, president of Global Virus Network

“…As an ethical imperative, those most affected by Ebola must be at the negotiating table as decisions are made about scale-up and rapid distribution of experimental and potentially promising drugs and interventions. In addition to African political and public health leaders, we hope to see significant representation in the negotiations by African medical virologists…” (8/15).