Ebola Attack: Africa Must Invest in Public Health

Published on 12th August 2014

We express our deepest condolences and empathies to all who lost the over 1,848 people to Ebola disease.  The disease which has ravaged Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria reportedly spreads through contact of skin or body fluids of infected persons or through touching contaminated surfaces.

The dilemma faced by different sectors that involve human travel in Africa over this disease calls for a unified continental public health strategy. It is also important to invest in public information about the disease and how it is spreads. It is sad that in the disease ravaged areas, families continue to treat infected loved ones and personally bury the dead, spreading the disease. Some, instead of taking precaution, are blaming aid workers for bringing it.

Ebola attack shows that the African Union needs to unify and standardize policies across its member nation-states as a matter of urgency. Diseases do not respect national boundaries. A proactive public health initiative can save lives through prevention mechanism. The World Health Organization recommends that animal products (meat and blood) should be thoroughly cooked to reduce animal to human transmission. Use of gloves when in contact with patient and regular washing is also crucial. It’s important  that communities affected with Ebola share information to facilitate containment measures.

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