Last year’s Ebola outbreak in West Africa sparked panic and concern around the world, but it helped lead to a fruitful discussion about how countries can prepare for unexpected health threats.
It’s worth asking, then, whether anything we have learned from the fight against Ebola can inform how we combat malaria.
Turns out there is.
That’s the topic of a guest op-ed published today by ExxonMobil Foundation president Suzanne McCarron at Devex.com. The site is “one of the leading hubs of information for the development sector,” to quote the Financial Times.
As Suzanne notes, the World Health Organization identified a number of critical lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak – such as the urgency of responding at the first signs of trouble – that should be applied to defeat malaria.
Another lesson is that strong health systems are essential. Having too few health workers or resources can be the difference between containing a problem and it turning epidemic.
More than half a million people die each year from malaria, despite the fact it is a preventable and treatable disease. If any good can be said to have come out of the Ebola crisis, it is the new thinking being paid to how best to combat malaria, Ebola, and other diseases that afflict so many people around the world.
Read Suzanne McCarron’s op-ed on applying the lessons of Ebola to the fight against malaria here.