Other than illustrating the incompetence and lack of commitment of the political class in West Africa, the Ebola virus outbreak has also triggered discussions on the impact of the crisis on global health security. A team of globally renowned health practitioners has now presented their views on the effects of the epidemic in essays published in the weekly peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet.
In these essays, the experts have explored different perspectives of the Ebola outbreak. They have investigated areas like people’s access to healthcare, the outbreak’s role in increasing the political commitment for improving health security, and relevance of issues like antimicrobial resistance in health security.
The review’s lead author Professor David L. Heymann of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, UK defines the term “health security” as protection from different threats to health.
According to him, threats like the Ebola outbreak has always been managed with the primary focus on quick detection of the outbreaks and prompt response. Prof. Heymann has further informed that the Ebola crisis has highlighted a less appreciated, but equally important element of global health security, which is ensuring individual access to health products and services around the globe. He believes that this aspect must be treated with greater importance for the betterment of global health security.
One of the essays in this series suggests that over the past decade global health security has been ignored by the political class through legal non-compliance from some countries. The World Health Organization or WHO has also played a big role in this by not accepting the importance of global health security.
The Ebola epidemic has forced WHO to admit its mistake. Last week the organization published a statement where it admitted that its process of handling the Ebola outbreak had some faults. In the statement, the World Health Organization has outlined the valuable lessons it has learnt, and has also promised that in the future it will respond more efficiently during similar emergencies.
In another essay, it has been written that this Ebola epidemic is the newest incident to illustrate the limitations in the medical research and development process when it comes to its ability of addressing global health priorities. According to information provided in the essay, three-fourth of all new medicines available on the market doesn’t possess any therapeutic value.
The essay also suggests that instead of looking for ways to make financial gains, medical research and development team should prioritize development for fulfilling unmet health requirements. This would eventually lead to betterment of global health security.