Sunday 12 October 2014

Ebola double vision....

A quick post to crudely highlight that total (suspected+probable+laboratory confirmed) Ebola virus disease case numbers have been doubling approximately every month  since June (as far back as I went). 
Click on image to enlarge.
The reality is that the most recent reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) may be even less accurate than the underestimated numbers we have become used to during the epidemiological fog-of-war that surrounds any outbreak, epidemic or pandemic. 

Apart from the most recent update, WHO Situation Reports (SitReps) of late have made a point of highlighting that the numbers have been lower than what those in the field expect is real.
"It should be emphasized that the reported fall in the number of new cases in Liberia over the past three weeks is unlikely to be genuine. Rather, it reflects a deterioration in the ability of overwhelmed responders to record accurate epidemiological data. It is clear from field reports and first responders that EVD cases are being under-reported from several key locations, and laboratory data that have not yet been integrated into official estimates indicate an increase in the number of new cases in Liberia."

So, if you are a senior influencer or a decision-maker in your country and if that country, in which you are a citizen, has offered only limited, financial, or non-existent support to this unprecedented outbreak of infectious disease, I suggest the following: Stop disproportionately worrying about the few sporadic but simply controlled EVD cases that your already-straining healthcare budget has to look forward to. Stop worrying about how those budgets will cope with the unnecessary burden of your feel-good but near-pointless rollout of temperature monitoring resources at entry ports. Stop thinking that by blocking flights out of West Africa you will somehow protect your country and the rest of the world from exported cases.

Think about this instead: If you are not doing your damnedest to insist that your country has put people and equipment on the ground in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea, then you do a disservice to humanity, and on your shoulders be the burden of the many deaths to come. 

We individual citizens can't do this. You and our governments can.

Complain about and hide behind who didn't react fast enough if you must, but do be very, very clear in your own mind that now, right this minute, if you are not acting, calling someone, pleading a humanitarian case, then it is you and those like you who are to blame for some of our global villages burning out of control. 

I don't care a damn if the currency for today's political action is "security" - you find a way to bring it back to being about humanity. 

We live in an interconnected world and some of those country's citizens are your constituents.

The global calls have gone out, the Resolution has been passed, the pleas have been made, the situation is clear to all. And you are failing. 

Get up and do something. Now.

  1. Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa — The First 9 Months of the Epidemic and Forward Projections.
    New England Journal of Medicine. 23-Sept. WHO Ebola Response Team

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