Via MSF.org: The Politics of Fear. Excerpt:
In a new book released this week, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) argues that the response to the West African Ebola epidemic of 2014–2015 was led by fear rather than medical priorities. The Politics of Fear highlights how patients and their care were not sufficiently prioritised, as security and containment not solidarity became the biggest prerogative of governments and organisations supporting the response.
While misinformation, panic and isolation featured heavily in the initial Ebola response, it is unclear how the epidemics of tomorrow will be better addressed.
Written by both MSF and non-MSF authors, the book collects critical and comprehensive impressions of the outbreak's rapid appearance, uncontrollable spread and the challenges faced by the global health community in its response.
It provides an intimate account, told through various disciplinary lenses (political science, anthropology, clinical medicine, bioethics and history), of one of the most devastating health emergencies in recent times. Complex issues such as controlling fear, ethical questions on quarantine, experimental drugs and the tension between quality and quantity of care colour a thorough and thought-provoking account of a dark chapter in history.
In all, 28,646 cases were confirmed during the outbreak alone and 11,308 patients died across Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. With over 59 million euros spent on its response in 2014, MSF oversaw the recovery of 2,329 Ebola patients in its centres across the affected countries.
The book exposes how countless deaths could have been avoided if the global health community had acted sooner and with greater strength. Ebola exposed the fragility of the global health community – MSF included – that leaves everybody with a share of the blame. The Politics of Fear is a step towards greater understanding of epidemics of the past in order to better address the outbreaks of tomorrow.
I've just bought and downloaded a copy.