According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the Ebola epidemics has officially ended on the 14th of January 2016. Making such an official announcement will probably put authorities off guard in regards to remaining contamination possibilities.
If this is in fact true and the threat is neutralized, the message is comforting. However we should continue to be on a look out for potential contamination from other diseases. It’s not like Ebola is the only threat out there and we shouldn’t lose focus on the war against biological threats after winning a battle.
#1 The infected areas should stop relying on the United States and Europe to control global epidemics crisis. This can be achieved by developing local solutions to problems and empowering the scientific and academic communities to conduct their own research.
#2 Now that the epidemic has ended, we should focus on learning as much as we can from it. It is likely there will still be emergencies, but they should be contained by the local authorities.
#3 The internet might serve as a valuable tool in preventing future outbreaks. Google could notice potential infections due to people researching symptoms. While this idea has not been used in practice yet, it could help us track and contain future disease outbreaks.
#4 Countries still fighting Ebola should collaborate with one another. They should coordinate their health institutions and disaster risk reduction teams to solve local issues. All of these developing countries should apply their own defense and containment strategies, as well as their unaffected neighboring countries.
#5 A better communication of changes in household or community level behavior could help with managing crisis situations. A close relationship with local health care personnel would help prevent future infection and avoid many other similar risks.
#6 Supply chains need to be updated and prepared for an epidemic. In general, local retailers hold enough stock to last for a couple of days. Should quarantine be installed, they might have issues in providing for the local population.
#7 Empowering local health personnel to coordinate and lead local epidemic response teams. People trust a white coat professional even more so if it’s someone from the local community whom they have known for a long time or from outside their profession.
#8 Epidemics response should be coordinated between different government departments. Relationships between them should be strengthened outside times of crisis to ensure better coordination during emergency situations.
#9 Reengineering community health workers training could solve many issues. The current cost-effective method can be perfected to allow better communication and understanding between trainers and trainees.
#10 Traditional healers are a very trusted part of the local community. They need to be integrated into promoting appropriate health messages.
#11 Stimulating technology adoption would greatly enhance communication both online and over the phone. People can connect to one another from the safety of their homes.
#12 Involvement in preparing increases when countries that have not joined the effort are singled out. Having a form of international accountability system will improve global development and coordination.
#13 Fund a disaster risk management team. It is shocking to find out that many countries haven’t got a basic emergency management and prevention team.
#14 An alert response system worked very nicely in containing Cholera disease pockets in Haiti outbreak. Investing in a higher-quality surveillance system could help detect epidemics earlier.
#15 Improving border control is a must. People coming from disease infested countries should be screened, monitored, put under quarantine and tested before being allowed to travel.
Strong health systems and communications infrastructure are paramount to better containment of spreading diseases and crisis management. They are employed in all health issues. In this global context, the systems should be prepared to handle multiple emergency situations at the same time. By working together with local communities and integrating established infrastructures, the area will be better prepared to offer the required support and services. Local populations should be able to successfully deal with these issues from now on.
Do you think a next epidemic is imminent? Do you think our government is prepared for another biological crisis? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.