The bid by the African Union (AU) executive to consolidate collective continental efforts, adopt a common position and define appropriate strategies to combat the Ebola epidemic as a matter of urgency is commendable. This is vital to curb the spread of the disease, track its development, implement coordinated responses and avoid measures that will trigger more averse social and economic impacts than the disease itself. Of nearly 4,000 people who have been infected by the Ebola epidemic, 2,000 have died according to the World Health Organization. Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are the worst hit.
Africa carries 24% of the global burden of disease and imports most of its medical products. A 2006 study by WHO shows that 67% of the African countries have an acute shortage of human resources for health. Ebola is a wake-up call for the continent to rethink investment in the health sector. A crucial place to begin is the AU emergency meeting resolve.