Via the Kenyan newspaper Daily Nation: Worst Ebola outbreak, poor response. Excerpt:
The current outbreak of Ebola virus disease now ravaging three West African nations illustrates how African nations lack the capacity in dealing with a stealth and fast killer disease.
Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone failed to borrow from military phraseology, “When you hear a shot, counter-attack.” There was precious little to attack with.
An Ebola strain, Zaire, claimed the first victim in Guinea in February. It moved to Liberia and by mid-April in Sierra Leone.
In fairness, the usual international disease outbreak fire-fighters—Doctors Without Borders, the US Centers for Disease Control and the UN World Health Organization—quickly responded.
When presidents of Mano River Union: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, with Ghana’s foreign minister in attendance, met on May 3, in Conakry, subsiding numbers of suspected victims, especially in Guinea, led them to issue an optimistic communiqué.
It “hailed the efforts of each member state and, in particularly Guinea, to contain the spread of the Ebola epidemic and to stress the need to continue medical monitoring at the borders, in order to eradicate this scourge in the sub-region.” It was most premature.
On July 2-3, WHO convened a summit of health ministers in Accra, Ghana’s capital. It brought together health ministers from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Ebola experts. Ugandan representatives attended.
This meeting should have taken place immediately Guinea heard the first shot. Its recommendations and plan of action explain why.
Anyway, so far WHO reports virus infections have hit the 888th mark and claimed 538 lives. It’s the worst recorded Ebola outbreak.