Via the Detroit Free Press, an op-ed by Nigerian physician Utibe Effiong: Why Ebola isn't just Africa's problem (guest column). Excerpt:
We still do not have effective drugs or a vaccine to fight Ebola. There is simply not much incentive for pharmaceutical companies to invest in medical solutions when there is little chance of a financial return.
Where there is little private sector input, foreign aid can help. Unfortunately, many in the global north believe that foreign aid is not a good investment. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey showed that 61% of Americans thought that too much is being spent on foreign aid (incidentally, most people significantly over-estimate how much aid is given).
But there is nothing “foreign” about foreign aid. When it comes to infectious diseases, aid can be about self-protection, not altruism.
Take small pox. Once a global threat, smallpox was eradicated by “foreign aid,” which supported the development of the first universally successful vaccine. With the same resolve, we can put an end to malaria, tuberculosis, HIV and even Ebola.
By investing in research for early diagnosis, treatment and vaccines for “African” diseases such as Ebola, we can make the type of progress that we have made with heart disease, diabetes and cancer. After all, we are more connected than we realize.