Blog 6: West Africa Unprepared for Future Health Crises Despite Ebola Aid
West African nations are at an extremely vulnerable state at this point. They are still recovering from the previous Ebola outbreak, which was the worst the continent has ever experienced. The health care is nearly decimated, leaving West African citizens more vulnerable than ever to infectious diseases. Health and medical resources sent from other countries such as the United States are running dry. Only 100 of the more than 1,500 U.S. military personnel deployed in West Africa during the peak of the outbreak are still in the country. They are expected to leave by the end of April, leaving West Africa to fend for themselves if another outbreak were to begin. Not to mention, many West African children remain unimmunized from many diseases such as measles, polio, and influenza. If a country or nation, already weakened by the Ebola outbreak, is affected by any one of the diseases above, it has the potential to be way more lethal and cause more devastation than Ebola. Viruses such as measles and the flu can be spread a lot quicker than the Ebola virus, which is transmitted through blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids of an infected person. Measles is already being watched carefully. The response for Ebola was extremely slow and the same is expected if another outbreak were to arise. Also, the number of health care workers has diminished as well, taken by the previous Ebola outbreak. West Africa is at high risk.
I am extremely worried that another outbreak has the potential to be as or even more lethal than Ebola. West African nations have already been ravaged by the Ebola virus and currently attempting to pick up the pieces. If another outbreak were to happen, it is not sure that foreign countries will continue to provide aid and supply West Africa with medical resources. The affected nations just may be abandoned or neglected. The Ebola outbreak proved just how horribly prepared West Africa as well as the World Health Organization was. The US and the UK provided the most financial aid to the countries of West Africa.
March 24, 2015