Policy Paper: Executive Action on Ebola Threat
Recommendations for executive action on Ebola threat to the U.N. General Assembly
Although the initial diagnosis of Ebola is traced back to 1976 in Congo Republic, its renaissance in late 1990s and early 2000s is what has proved confounding to the health sector (CDC, 2014).Ebola is a viral illness that manifests in the body system at a very high pace causing partial or complete paralysis of the body immunity system. The symptoms of the disease range from chronic fever and excessive internal and external bleeding to body openings, and fatigue. According to CDC (2014), intense body weakness is associated with diarrhea, vomiting, and sore throat. This massive and rapid viral infestation in the body causes an overwhelming retort pulsation within the immunity system resulting into death of the victim. Countries that have been hit by the pandemic include, Liberia, Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Congo, although similar cases have insignificantly been reported elsewhere like in India, Senegal and Sudan (ECDC, 2014).
The primary cause of the disease has always been speculated to be bush meat made from animals such as bats, monkeys, antelopes, porcupines, hedgehogs among others. Secondarily, the disease can spread so fast through body contacts especially hugging, kissing, handshakes, as well as through sexual intercourse. CDC (2014) established that male semen of a recovered victim has about 70% capacity to transmit Ebola. Since such practices are characteristic of many cultures of Western and Central African countries, it explains why the disease has been prevalent there. Although the response by the health sectors in the affected countries in conjunction with the World Health agencies has so far been fruitful as it managed to reduce incidents to minimal levels, a lot of proactive measures ought to be adopted by all and sundry to ensure absolute eradication of the disease among the global populace.
The prevalence of Ebola ailment in some parts of developing continents particularly in West African countries has triggered numerous significant debates in the international community. According to ECDC (2014), Ebola is the world’s deadliest ever ailments in the history of transmissible diseases. Its malevolence and the pace of transmission have inflicted aversion behavior among communities within the affected areas and those in proximity. Although there have been impressive concerted efforts in combating the pandemic, the threat shocked the international community which has hitherto remained apprehensive as to whether the emergence of other similar ailments is imminent. The condition perpetuated the aversion behavior, which untold collateral damage to the social and economic state especially in the affected countries. The GDP growth of West African nations such as Guinea and Liberia has tremendously retrogressed putting the counties in precarious situations (The World Bank, 2014).
The quarantine measures that have been imposed on the countries have caused sharp food shortages and other necessities which are usually imported from other countries. The aversion has also scared potential investors from other countries as the current ones especially from the mining sectors in Nigeria and Senegal have vacated as the region strives to come into terms with the loss close to 1,300 Ebola victims (The World Bank, 2014). Consequently, a number of medical practitioners also succumbed to the disease after contracting it from patients who were undergoing treatment.
As the Chief Consultant on Ebola threat, I wish to reiterate categorically to this United Nations General Assembly the threat calls for action from all of us. When some parts of the world are ailing, the whole world cannot be at peace. In this policy brief, I shall ventilate on the background of this deadly disease as I also share with you the policy options that should certainly be considered in the effort of mitigation. Finally, I will make my personal recommendations, which I believe will suffice in totally combating the pandemic.
Having thoroughly analyzed the root causes, symptoms and ways through which Ebola can be transmitted; I am obliged to share some of the policy options that would probably facilitate the remedial actions towards the lasting solution of the pandemic. First, there has to be a total paradigm shift in certain cultures that are on record as having been the conduit through which Ebola has spread far and wide. Regions that have been worst hit are used in such cultural and religious practices as handshaking, hugging, and even touching the deceased persons during funerals. They should therefore seriously consider changing this habit as one of the mitigating factors of the looming threat. Similarly, social affairs such as kissing and sexual intercourse need to be controlled as they pose a critical risk too. In fact, the Ministry of Health in Liberia announced the ban on sex as one of the drastic measures that would solve the problem. It is wise for other communities with similar practices to take prior preventive measures to eliminate susceptibility of the disease.
In addition to that, avoiding bush meat should be another policy option. It was unveiled that meat from bats, monkeys, antelopes, porcupines, and other similar wild animals is a very dear delicacy in the aforementioned countries. Efforts have to be made by the relevant governments to promulgate policies that would discourage the trade and help people to focus on other business exercises to earn extra income. Touristic ventures that have hitherto been the enticing stimulus for bush-meat trade should also be checked.
In addition, since poor hygiene has been found to the best catalyst for the spread of Ebola, the public health policies should be intensified to curb this menace. The government agencies concerned with general hygiene should initiate programs to sensitize residents of various places about the dangers associated with poor hygiene (Sy & Copley, 2014). School health programs should also be emphatic on the same so that all people regardless of age become fully cognizant of proper hygiene practices. The corporate entities too should adopt the required waste management practices to avoid contributing to the environmental degradation. This will absolutely reduce chances of Ebola transmission especially through unsafe environment hence alleviating the behavior of aversion among the residents as well as among potential investors.
Finally, the affected governments in conjunction with the World Health Organization and the UN security agencies should instigate and intensify the program of aversion therapy among the affected communities in order to counter the shock that rocked them following the emergence of the menace of Ebola. The rest of the world populace should also be helped to unwind the notion of the imminence of another deadly disease such as Ebola.
To ensure absolute eradication of the disease of Ebola and prevention of similar pandemics in future, I have made the following recommendations to the governments of the affected regions, including the WHO and the UN security agencies as well the entire international community. First, the affected countries should intensify the isolation of the infected people from the healthy society to curb the spread because the illness is highly infectious. People living with the victims should also avoid coming into close contact with the bodies of the diseased since their bodies are full of fluids through which the virus could still be transmitted to others (ECDC, 2014). Medical practitioners should always enforce themselves with protective attires, surgery caps, goggles, respirators, gloves and overalls whenever they are visiting Ebola patients.
Secondly, the WHO should intensify efforts of getting an Ebola vaccine to rid the world of the anxiety that rocked it since the emergence of the disease. In addition to that, through its regional representatives the WHO should instigate routine counseling programs among the affected communities to combat the aversion behavior among the healthy children and adults. The therapy should also be incorporated in the curricula of their educational systems so that children grow up with positive mentality about the emergencies of this magnitude.
Finally, there is great need for the governments and health sectors to instigate active case detection which generally entails disease surveillance frequently carried out across the countries. Mobile health workers should be deployed to carry out medical tests among the countries’ populace several times a year. This is the best way of ensuring that the country remains proactive other than waiting for the emergency before they hastily begin taking reactionary measures (Sy & Copley, 2014). If this system is conducted properly, any symptoms of deadly disease would be detected when they are still in the incubation period and in such a way the efforts to deal with it will suffice. This is better off as compared to the passive case detection which involves patients looking for health care only when they get infected. Sometimes the response was overwhelming especially the cases related to Ebola were alarming.
I strongly believe that as the UN General Assembly, this concerns you as well so that you may implement the policy options and my recommendations into your agenda and deliberate them in search of a lasting and credible solution of the world menaces and particularly this Ebola ailment which the World Heal Organization has declared to be a pandemic. If these recommendations are jointly adopted by the affected countries and the international community, the mitigation process will no doubt be successful and have no disfiguring intricacies.