THE CRISIS IN EBOLA

THE CRISIS IN EBOLA

This topic is not quite ripe for the picking. The Ebola story has not come to a conclusion as yet; much has to be done successfully to fight this disease, to find a cure, to prepare a preventative vaccine, and the success of our efforts will be the main battle. In fact this disease is so prolific, that it may change the course of human existence on this planet; for the negative, regrettably. Living in our small island, an outbreak of Ebola may surely reduce the size and function of the island of Jamaica’s population.

I am aware that respective Governments have taken the trouble to screen all visitors to the Country; so all we can do now is await developments. I realize that president Obama has appointed a ‘Czar’, but has he been given International Jurisdiction? Otherwise how will he operate, most of the infected persons may turn out to be Africans. So we can only wait on the decisions of our sworn politicians. Their competence in any action is usually questionable, judged by the reaction to CHIC-V, and we need the information that relates to the virus transmission, and the protective gear that is required.

Ebola was discovered in 1976 and was once thought to originate in gorillas, because human outbreaks began after people ate gorilla meat.

Scientists now believe that bats are the natural reservoir for the virus, and that apes and humans catch it from eating food that bats have drooled or defecated on, or by coming in contact with surfaces covered in infected bat droppings and then touching their eyes or mouths. The current outbreak seems to have started in a village near Guéckédou, Guinea, where bat hunting is common, according to Doctors Without Borders.

One of the restrictive elements in treatment of the disease is the required expenses to maintain a common front. What is needed is a huge supply of trained health-care professionals working in West Africa. European Governments are being requested to allow professionals to apply for temporary leave with hazard pay.

Then there is need for field laboratories, with epidemic and microbiologic surveillance resources, hand in hand with generators, fuel, and clean water. Further, required are also personal cleaning supplies, protective suiting and gear, and military aircraft to carry food, supplies and personnel to the affected regions.  For effective action, Europe’s strategic approach to responding is just as important as its financial and monetary commitments.

The EU commitment, a total of Euros 97.5 million necessary to support the economies of the affected countries, requires governance, monitoring and evaluation to deter waste and graft; so clearly accountability and transparency has to be at the centre of this effort. (Lancet 26/09/2014).

At least 17 cases have been treated in Europe and the United States. Most involve health and aid workers who contracted Ebola in West Africa and were transported back to their home country for treatment. Out of some 400 cases who contracted Ebola Cases known some 230 have died, data compiled from reports by the C.D.C., the World Health Organization, Doctors without Borders and other official agencies.

Since then it is only Nigeria that has tackled its caseload with success; their outbreak of Ebola seems to be controlled, with no new cases reported in the past twenty-one days, as their director/Minister of Health reported to Parliament a week ago. This is a remarkable feat, and seem to be explained that there is no contiguous line from Nigeria to West Africa; hence no easy path of transmission.

(593 words)

©Ramesh Sujanani

20/10/2014

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