Reversing global health’s Ebola failure

In the wake of the West African Ebola outbreak, Assistant Professor Marcel Yotebieng details the need for a coordinated and robust global action plan to tackle this crisis.

November 21, 2014

On Oct. 20, the World Health Organization declared Nigeria officially free of the Ebola virus transmission. This represented an enormous triumph for the public health community, and a testimony to what is possible with an adequate public health response. This triumph stands in stark contrast, however, to the current situation in other West African countries, where we are reminded of our failure as a global health community.

The 25th known outbreak of the Ebola virus infection, which began in Guinea almost a year ago, before spreading to neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone, remains out of control and continues to expand. It has already killed more than 4,800 people as of Nov. 2, three times more than all previous outbreaks combined. 

Without a robust, effective, multi-pronged effort from the global health community, the Ebola virus infection could become endemic in those countries. And they could, in turn, become a reservoir for the virus to spread to other parts of Africa and the world.

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