The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has reportedly claimed close to 4,000 lives, and World Health Organization officials believe the true death toll could be far higher. An international response — including U.S. military personnel, as well as assistance from several other countries and nongovernmental organizations — has begun, yet global concern about the virus is spreading. How worried should we be? What are the risks? In the Washington Post, Laurie Garrett debunks five common myths about the current Ebola outbreak.
Writing in Defense One, Janine Davidson pushes back against criticism of the U.S. military’s deployment to Liberia to help fight the Ebola virus. In fact, she argues, the U.S. military is the institution best equipped to overcome this challenge.
As American politicians encourage the use of fever checks at airports and travel bans to stem the global spread of Ebola, Laurie Garrett argues these interventions will not work. Instead, more resources need to be devoted to developing a rapid point-of-care diagnostic that can find Ebola in a single droplet of blood.
Yanzhong Huang notes the limited public health infrastructure in certain West African countries that are currently battling the spread of Ebola, which is a similar phenomenon to that which occurred in China during the 2003 SARS outbreak. Dr. Huang stresses the importance of foreign aid, particularly Chinese funds, to slow the spread of Ebola but points out that dependence on foreign aid is ultimately an unsustainable public health strategy.
Obama called the world to action against Ebola, but most countries are only paying lip service to the coming catastrophe. Laurie Garrett asks two questions about this newly announced war on Ebola in this article for ForeignPolicy.com: Will personnel and resources reach West Africa rapidly enough to dam the viral flow, and will the nations of the world learn from this disaster to build institutions and long-term targets that prevent pandemics in the future?
President Barack Obama spoke with health experts at the Center for Disease Control on September 16, 2014, and the White House relased this fact sheet to outline U.S. actions to combat Ebola in West Africa and to contain its spread, including sending health workers, military forces, and medical supplies, funding vaccine development, and supporting public service announcements and education about the disease.
As the Ebola epidemic in West Africa accelerates beyond the capacity to count its toll, an unprecedented escalation in global support is evident, led by U.S. President Barack Obama's call for U.S. military intervention. In this op-ed for Foreign Policy, Laurie Garrett argues, "Nothing short of heroic, record-breaking mobilization is necessary at this late stage in the epidemic."
In August 2014, African Union (AU) established the AU Support to Ebola Outbreak in West-Africa (ASEOWA) mission to send health personnel from Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, and Ethiopia to effected countries in West Africa. The African Union Executive Council released an official decision about AU reponse to the Ebola epidemic on September 9, 2014, and the first deployment of volunteers will go to Liberia, followed by a deployment to Sierra Leone.
When the most recent outbreak of Ebola began in March 2014, it could have been stopped with inexpensive, low-technology approaches. But the world largely ignored the unfolding epidemic. Now, the epidemic is skyrocketing because of this negligence. In this piece for ForeignPolicy.com, Laurie Garrett explains what the World Health Organization and the United Nations have not explained to date, and talks with Barbara Kerstiens, a former Doctors Without Borders volunteer who worked in the Kikwit epidemic in 1995, about lessons learned.
Dr. Joanne Liu, International President of Médecins Sans Frontières, spoke at UN Special Briefing on Ebola on September 2, 2014. Dr. Liu lists priorities as "scaling up isolation centers; deploying mobile laboratories to improve diagnostic capabilities; establishing dedicated air bridges to move personnel and equipment to and within West Africa; and building a regional network of field hospitals to treat suspected or infected medical personnel."
The World Health Organization (WHO) issued this roadmap for scaled-up response to the Ebola outbreak and for coordinated international support. WHO states that it aims to stop Ebola transmission in affected countries (particularly Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone) within 6-9 months and prevent international spread.
The governments of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea have escalated their counterattack on the Ebola virus, imposing cordons sanitaires aimed at isolating entire regions of their countries in hopes of containing the enemy. Although many in the media accuse these governments of being inhumane or overly severe, Laurie Garrett pulls from her experience in the Ebola outbreak of 1995 in Kikwit, Zaire to show that these dramatic steps can work.
Short-term focus on Ebola control cannot be disconnected from a longer term commitment to economic and technical support of the affected nations' health care systems, roads, schools and general development, writes Laurie Garrett.
New shots are jeopardizing humanity's battle to eradicate polio, and they don't include syringes or vaccines. Rather, they're the gunshots of Islamic terrorists, and they're imperiling the fight to eliminate polio.
As the first outbreak of ebola in West Africa in twenty years claims over seventy lives, Laurie Garrett looks back at past epidemics in the region, drawing on her own experience reporting on 1995's ebola epidemic in Kikwit, Zaire. Lessons were learned, and it's now up to Guinea to remember them.
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Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »