Sunday, August 31, 2014

Global Community Must Face Deeper Roots of Growing Ebola Crisis

As the worst Ebola outbreak in recorded history continues to accelerate in West Africa, with the World Health Organization announcing Thursday that up to 20,000 people could be infected throughout its course, experts and aid workers urge the rest of the world to take action and responsibility for the growing crisis.

"The international community has played a very detrimental role in de-funding and de-prioritizing the public health infrastructure in affected countries," Emira Woods, expert on U.S. foreign policy in Africa and social impact director at ThoughtWorks, a technology firm committed to social and economic justice, told Common Dreams.

According to WHO figures released Thursday, the deadly virus has already killed 1,552 people, with 3,069 infections reported in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. However, the actual number of cases might be between two and four times greater than currently known, the organization reports. Nearly 40 percent of the total number of reported cases have occurred within the past three weeks alone, indicating the outbreak continues to grow exponentially since it first emerged in March.

"There needs to be a concerted effort and political will to rebuild public health infrastructure with the understanding that health care is a right for all of us."—Emira Woods

The disease was first reported in Guinea and has since spread, hitting Liberia the hardest. Nigerian authorities announced on Wednesday the country's first Ebola death outside the city limits of Lagos. An unrelated Ebola outbreak has hit the Democratic Republic of Congo.


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