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.
After the tragic reappearance of polio in Afghanistan's capital city, Kabul, Laurie Garrett and Maxine Builder explore how Taliban plots to obstruct polio vaccinations could derail many hard-fought gains in global health and development.
Without a more transparent international research and information-sharing system, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) could spread far beyond the bounds of the region for which it is named, write Laurie Garrett and Maxine Builder.
In his testimony before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Yanzhong Huang discusses China's recent public health crises. He focused on two areas: encouraging further government transparency and emboldening civil society to help enact policy changes.
Laurie Garrett offers a detailed account of how the H7N9 virus emerged and describes the two possible paths it may now follow, by pulling from her own experiences in the SARS epidemic ten years ago and reflecting on parallels between the two.