Reaction from the West too slow to fight Ebola

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The aid agency, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said on Tuesday that the West African Ebola outbreak could have been under control by now if Britain and other governments in the West had sent disaster experts in to help.

It has criticized governments for not heeding the call to send in teams who had adequate ‘biological-disaster response capacity’, during early September when the outbreak showed initial signs of spiralling out of control.

Most Western countries, including the UK, retain these types of teams in the event of an outbreak on their own territory. However, the international response has been to build clinics, which resulted in a decline in the number of qualified medical staff members to manage them.

In Kerry Town in Sierra Leone, an 80-bed clinic constructed by a British team has been running at a mere fraction of its overall capacity. Since staff are ‘learning on the job’, the managers of the clinic have had no choice but to restrict the numbers, for safety reasons.

MSF said foreign governments have placed their focus mainly on building or financing Ebola case management structures, which has left staffing up to local health care staff, NGOs and national authorities who do not possess the required expertise to fulfil this task.

This claim has come after new data was released by the World Health Organisation, indicating that in excess of 6000 people have died from the virus.

In the meantime, an accusation has come from North Korea that the US is responsible for manufacturing the Ebola virus in a bid to secure world domination. According to an editorial in the Pyongyang Times, Washington developed this virus and allowed its spread throughout West Africa.

Image Credit: Army Medicine

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