Last week in the Lancet, Lawrence Gostin and Eric Freidman discussed the reasons that the ebola outbreak constitutes a crisis in global health leadership and called for reform. In this article (a previous version of which appeared in DevPolicy) Sam Byfield, from the University of Melbourne’s Nossal Institute for Global Health, looks at the factors that have contributed to the inadequate global response and reiterates calls for Australia to commit to more than financial assistance.
Sam Byfield writes:
In March 2014, the US Centers for Disease Control reported 86 suspected cases and 59 deaths from Ebola in Guinea, and noted the disease’s emergence in Liberia and Sierra Leone. The official death toll from ebola has now topped 4000 people, from a total of approximately 8000 official cases (and up to 21,000 unofficial, if unreported cases are included). The CDC has estimated that, without any interventions or changes in community behaviour, by January 2015 there may be around 550,000 Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone (or 1.4 million if corrections for underreporting are made). The economic cost of Ebola could be as high as $33 billion over the next two years if the virus spreads to neighbouring countries in West Africa.READ MORE