Prevention is the key

Its a challenge to find the right tone for criticism. Ebola has lead to an exceptional situation. No one, no NGO, no government was prepared for the strong outbreak. All do what they can. Everyone here is overwrought. Sometimes I am still annoyed when I see where money goes.

I mentioned it already: Money that flows into treating of Ebola patients, saves one life. Money that flows into the prevention of Ebola, saves many lives. Still more money goes into the treatment, as this current UN-graph shows:

Financial Requests for Ebola Response to UNMEER
Quelle: Financial Requests for Ebola Response to UNMEER

An example that made me indignant comes from USAID. In a „Innovation-Competition for new approaches and ideas in the Ebola response a project has won which has developed a new type of protective suit for medical personnel! With all sympathy and admiration for all doctors and nurses who take part in the fight against Ebola within a life-threatening situation: A new protective suit will never end the outbreak! That is a bit of faith- wearing a life jacket could prevent a ship from sinking.

I think this is airy and generally a fail. The aim must be to suppress contagion to 100%. My friend and co-editor of this blog Rene asked me what it would cost to impose quarantine in Sierra Leone for three weeks. Schools and universities are closed anyway. Many people have lost their jobs. Why not declare a general curfew for three weeks. Nobody leaves their living space except medical personnel and police officers. In a country where the majority of the population makes less than 1.25 US dollars a day, a 21-day curfew with full supply should not cost that much actually. Approximately 6 million people live in Sierra Leone, so we are talking about an amount of less than 200 million US dollars. To date 1.9 trillion US dollars were spent.
I think the logistical coordination might be complicated, some measures may be impractical. It is hardly possible to control a whole country from one day to the next. I previously worked in North Korea. So I know a bit about surveillance. And there will be still the issues that the Welthungerhilfe encounters already: drinking and household water, waste disposal, common toilets for entire streets etc. pp.

Of course, I have no solution. But there is one thing I am sure of: Prevention is the key in the fight against Ebola.

This article is a translation of Julia’s original article in German language.

Philippe

Philippe translates Julias articles to English language so that more people can have access to her reports and information.

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