Handling the next pandemic

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Can the global health system stop Ebola? The answer has more to do with Samuel Kaziraho than you might expect.

Kaziraho is a war-weary 44-year-old who lives in the Bulengo displaced persons camp, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. This summer he was struck by malaria, like many men in Bulengo. Fevers and chills stole 10 pounds from his frame and a month’s income from his pocket. Responding to a rash of cases, Doctors Without Borders rushed to test and treat patients. But it couldn’t give Kaziraho a bed net to replace his shredded one: Its nets were earmarked for pregnant women, and getting other organizations to step in was achingly slow.

“The first battle is, they have to agree on the problem. Then they have to find and convince the donor,” said Axelle Alibert, a Doctors Without Borders coordinator in Goma. “It will be three months, then by the time they organize it they might not need it anymore.”

Source: USA Today (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases, public health