OPINION: Ebola: The dark side of globalization

Monday, October 20, 2014

You would think we would have learned to deal with globalization by now. Goods, services, people, and money, and occasionally, diseases, flow across borders at a staggering pace. Little can stop these flows. Not walls. Not presidents. Not health authorities.

People, however, remain quite rooted in their local communities. So rooted that when a global health scare comes along, we only react when somebody we know, in our country, or somewhere we know well, is affected. Most people’s identity is local, not global, and not even international. Perhaps we should be glad. It gives focus. We attend to what is near. Perhaps, therefore, most of us underestimated Ebola. In Norway, nobody reacted when a nurse on volunteer duty in West Africa contracted the disease, but when she arrived in the nation’s capital for treatment, everyone noticed. In the U.S., nobody winked until a person died in Texas.

The authorities, however, have not helped us understand the situation. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Chief Tom Frieden first announced thatEbola posed no threat to an advanced health system like the U.S., added that all U.S. hospitals were prepared to deal with Ebola, then proceeded to send them a letter asking them to prepare for Ebola.

Source: Fortune (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases, vaccines