This paper presents a proposal on a solution to the current Ebola outbreak that has persistently killed innocent people in West Africa. The problem is unlikely to stop given that the health systems in the region are weak. They cannot sustain or deal with a highly feared disease in the nature of Ebola. Furthermore, the problem will soon be a worldwide epidemic if there is no immediate action. Controlling the spread of the disease is the first thing to look at before taking post preventive, curative measures such special screening and treatment.
I suggest that world health bodies such as the United Nations especially World Health Organization among other stakeholders take an effective, responsive action as soon as possible. Measures such as travel restrictions are to be levied immediately to stop the spread of the Ebola virus.
The Ebola virus disease is fatal in nature. It is a hemorrhagic fever illness first reported in 1976 in Sudan. A series of complex outbreaks have been reported since then causing a high mortality rate especially in different parts of West Africa. Ebola virus symptoms begin to show-up in at least two to three days after the contact. Therefore, it is almost unnoticeable during the first hours, day and sometimes, even the second day. This nature makes Ebola virus hard to identify unless one is thoroughly screened. Liver and kidney functionality decreases during the first contact hours hence it is hard to bear the symptoms early enough so that the patient is treated immediately before anything worse happens (Burton & Parren, 2000). Fluid contact between an infected individual to other people is what transfers the disease. Unless a successful diagnosis is achieved, a patient could be treated of other diseases instead. This is because the symptoms of Ebola virus are similar to those of malaria and cholera.
The recent outbreak has occurred in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Senegal among other neighboring countries. The disease has also caused havoc to health workers of European descent including Spain and the United States. Head of states and health organization have given contradictory information about the matter as the world continues to lose innocent people through the deadly virus.
Statistical figures showing the deaths caused by Ebola are scaring. As per the month of October 2014, about six thousand cases were reported in Liberia alone. Two thousand out of this figure perished. In Sierra Leone, one thousand five hundred people out of four thousand reported cases died from the disease. About nine hundred people died in Guinea while there eight out of twenty reported cases in Nigeria who died from Ebola virus. Furthermore, the United States reported four cases, out of which one person died while Senegal and Spain reported one case each. It is certain that more cases will be reported if there are no measures in place to curb the spread of the disease.
The main concerned stakeholders are travel agencies and health provider organizations. Travel agencies include all flight companies that operate across the globe. It is vital that such companies and government travel parastatals control their activities in order to stop the spread of Ebola. Similarly, heath care providers have to take action appropriately. This category will include heath care systems of areas not affected by the disease. Health measures will ensure that no new Ebola infections occur while the few cases occurring will be treated accordingly.
Solution to the problem
I propose that travels to West Africa be banned in the first place. People must be restricted from travelling in and out the country until the situation is fully under control. Thereafter, reliable heath care systems have to be established to prevent future outbreaks (Snedden, 2000). However, this requires significant support from outside aid collected from well-wishers all over the world. It is our responsibility as people to take care of ourselves; that is, remain concerned of the welfare of our neighbors. To realize the success of my proposed solution, an implementation plan is necessary.
The first step will be to conduct a survey of the affected areas. Here, stakeholders will join hands to make sure that areas are identified and marked as no-go zone. There should be no bias whatsoever in this process since anything of the sort will hamper the success to fighting the disease. Political associated issues are to be kept away, and the lives of people will be considered as a priority. As mentioned earlier, there should be support from everyone, not only travel companies and health care providers. At the heart of the implementation plan will be the ability of effective communication between parties.
Receiving and sending information should be carried with ut-most care. No false information can be tolerated if complete eradication of the disease in the world is to be successful. In collaboration with the travel agencies, the media, of course, has a role to play. Media allow information reach to individuals hence it can be utilized to accelerate the notion of spreading awareness about Ebola virus disease. This will create the necessary atmosphere whereby individuals will take precautions measures. For instance, a person will not take first steps to having physical contact with Ebola patient regardless of their personal relationship. If that happens, communication will have played an important role in controlling and making sure that there are no more reported cases.
Civil education can also be conducted by every enlightened person. It is evident that, even up to this century, people remain illiterate in some parts of the world, especially Africa. The amount of ignorance is explained as a core factor to the continued spread of Ebola virus. People do not understand the cautious measures as they are fed with beliefs rather than the facts of the disease. Communication and civil education will help solve the situation and take control of the matter (Nævdal, 2009). Apart from the world media houses, there are many other agents that can take a responsibility in initiating communication. Below are the mentioned few and their roles.
- Travel agencies – these include public and private airplane world carriers. Even though they are driven by profits, they are expected to honor the call for not taking route in the affected areas. This will restrict border movements and create room for close control of an outbreak situation. Travel agencies also have a responsibility to tell the world about the danger of travelling to Ebola affected regions.
- Media houses – These are international media corporations such as CNN, Aljazeera to mention but a few. With the amount of space in such corporations, they can educate the world about Ebola effectively.
- Government institutions – governments are to be blamed at the first hand in the event of an outbreak. Therefore, government institutions have a duty to instill proper communication systems plus health care networks that can curb the spread of Ebola Virus.
- Non- Government Organization (NGO’s) – NGO’s are known to offer a lot of assistance when it comes to health issues. However, such institutions still have to work even harder in rescuing life. Focus should turn to making sure that people are living in safe environments. This is enough help as opposed to the notion of offering help when a disaster is reported.
The strategy is simple. Each of the above implementation team members has to work dependently. They have to cover each other so that there is no weakness during the process. Also, not even a single team member will take an excuse from a responsibility. For example, it is well known that media houses are the best in educating the public. However, this task could be done by the travel agencies as well. If an airplane company sticks educative information at public areas and even every entry to the airport, people will have a chance to see and learn. Therefore, every member has equal responsibility to curb the spread of Ebola virus.
In conclusion, it is for certain that imposing travel restrictions will win the war on Ebola. Patients will have a chance to undergo a full treatment while the rest remain healthy. No further spread of the disease will occur, and the world will be safe for the human race. Furthermore, no frustrations will arise among stakeholders as every party will have a chance to save their resources. There is no doubt that Ebola will be a forgotten case in no time if this proposal is implemented.
Burton, D. R., & Parren, P. W. (2000). Fighting the Ebola virus. Nature, 2, 13-29.
Nævdal, E. (2009). Fighting Transient Epidemics - Optimal Vaccination Schedules Before and After an Outbreak.
Snedden, R. (2000). Fighting infectious diseases (2nd ed.). Oxford: Heinemann Library.