Global Response to Ebola - We are still not doing enough

Recent days have seen a significant increase in the global response to the Ebola crisis: China and Cuba are sending doctors, the World Bank approved a $105-million grant, and the United States pledged 3,000 troops and training for hundreds of health care workers.

Global Response to Ebola - We are still not doing enough

The United Nations Security Council, lead by Irishwoman Samantha Power, will hold an emergency meeting today to address the crisis. But developed countries, including Ireland, are still not doing enough.

It seems extraordinary that the 21st century should see an epidemic that has all the hallmarks of the bubonic plague of the Middle Ages. Ebola has already killed 2,400 and, according to a study published by the medical journal Eurosurveillance, there could be another 277,000 cases by the end of the year.

Towards the end of June the international medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières warned the outbreak was already out of control but the World Health Organisation did not declare a public health emergency until a month later and only now do Western nations and the UN seem to be awakening to the severity of the crisis. Dr Gabriel Fitzpatrick, chairman of MSF Ireland, has called on the West to help fight the virus at its source.

Basic mechanisms to control the outbreak are not being met in West Africa, said Dr Fitzpatrick, who has just returned from Sierra Leone. Surely it is not beyond the abilities of either the HSE or our UN peacekeeping troops to lend a hand in combating the largest Ebola outbreak in history.

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