Essay The Impact of the Ebola Virus on Africa

Essay The Impact of the Ebola Virus on Africa

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The outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa, a strain never seen in the region, is scary indeed. To hear about medical professionals, who are supposed to know more about Ebola than anyone else, fall helplessly in the line of duty is very frightening. Ebola is another of Africa’s brand-killers. And it seems to take the shine away from the story of a continent that has been rising unprecedentedly in a post-financial crisis era - where economic growth is in short supply. Even the historic US-Africa Summit and its outcome were overshadowed by the world-wide panic over the viral contagion. Two African Heads of States of the affected countries even declined an opportunity to take pictures with the first American President of African blood— preferring to stay back to lead emergency efforts against the disease— a rarity in Africa.

As if to further add fear. The World Health Organization, the world’s leading health agency, has declared Ebola outbreak and spread a global public health emergency— an extraordinary health event, the third in recent years after swine flu and polio. The organization has further labelled the epidemic as ‘’out of controlled’’ and most recently observed that the over 2000 confirmed cases and more than 1000 deaths in the three affected countries, have been ‘’vastly underestimated.’’ Medicins San Frontier, a reputable international NGO, has signaled no end to the tunnel yet. MSF projects another six more months to contain the virus. While Ebola has struck panic at the core of the political, health and social establishment, as a killer, it pales greatly in comparison with Africa’s health challenges. Without a forward looking approach to address the roots of the virus, all the firefighting to contain Ebola could end up harming Africa more than the disease itself. In fact, what justifies the unprecedented local, national and global (dis) attraction over Ebola.

Price of Herding
The virus seems to have unleashed the animal within us, in the face of danger: fear, confusion and breakdown. Like ‘’sheep’’, African governments individually strive to appear as doing something: suspending air travels to key destinations, even against a WHO’s advice that air travel poses low risks of transmission. One country issues a suspension, others follow seemingly without questioning. Those seemingly rational decisions, made by governments, citizens and compa...

... middle of paper ...

...The World Bank has announced a $200million emergency fund to country worst affected. This comes on top of $100million earmarked for Ebola by World Health Organization. WHO has further calls for an additional $75 million to plug the gap in funding. Bilateral partners like US and EU have also pledged additional support.

Works Cited

Abdul H Mussa, J. P. ( 2013). Vertical funding, non-governmental organizations, and health system strengthening: perspectives of public sector health workers in Mozambique. Human Resources for Health, 11:26.
Khan et al. (1999). The reemergence of Ebola hemorrhagic fever, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1995.Commission de Lutte contre les Epidemies a Kikwit. . J Infect Dis 179: Suppl 1S76–S86.
Dias et al(2010). Effects of the USA PATRIOT Act and the 2002 Bioterrorism Preparedness Act on select agent research in the United States. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107: 9556–9561.
MacNeil A, R. P. (2012). Ebola and Marburg Hemorrhagic Fevers: Neglected Tropical Diseases? PLoS Negl Trop Dis 6(6): e1546.
World Health Organization . (2012). International Health Regulations (2005) SUMMARY OF STATES PARTIES 2012 REPORT ON IHR CORE CAPACITY . Geneva: WHO.

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