April 13, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - In the Guardian’s article, “Panic as deadly Ebola virus spreads across West Africa,” it reports:
Since the outbreak of the deadly strain of Zaire Ebola in Guinea in February, around 90 people have died as the disease has travelled to neighbouring Sierra Leone, Liberia and Mali. The outbreak has sent shock waves through communities who know little of the disease or how it is transmitted. The cases in Mali have added to fears that it is spreading through West Africa.
The Guardian also reported that Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known in English as Doctors Without Borders, had established treatment centers in Guinea, one of which came under attack as locals accused the foreign aid group of bringing the disease into the country. Also under fire is the government of Guinea itself, which has proved incapable of handling the crisis.
This latest outbreak, which has yet to be contained and is being considered by Doctors Without Borders as an “unprecedented epidemic,” illustrates several troubling truths about global health care, emergency response to outbreaks, and the perception many have of a West subjecting the developing world to a “medical tyranny.”
Failure to Prepare
In 2012, when Doctors Without Borders concluded its response to an Ebola outbreak in Uganda, it claimed in its post, “MSF Concludes Emergency Ebola Response in Uganda,” that:
The Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) emergency response to an outbreak of Ebola in Uganda has come to an end. The MSF team handed over the Ebola treatment center it set up in Uganda’s western Kibaale district to the Ugandan Ministry of Health (MoH).
The statement also claimed:
As part of a preparation plan for future outbreaks, MSF also restored a treatment unit in Mulago hospital, located in Kampala, Uganda’s capital. “Uganda has developed the capacity to respond to Ebola emergencies,” said MSF emergency coordinator Olimpia de la Rosa. “We can rely on the capability of Ministry of Health staff to take over and manage Ebola cases with all safety guarantees.”
One must wonder then, if MSF and other global health agencies can train Ugandan medical staff and hand over responsibilities to prevent a future outbreak to the government of Uganda, why haven’t similar provisions been undertaken in nations like Guinea, Liberia, Mali, and Sierra Leone. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ebola outbreaks occur “primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.” Why then have nations in Central and West Africa not been prepared for such outbreaks – particularly when the many of the nations that back MSF are already heavily involved in the internal affairs of many of these nations?
France alone has expended hundreds of millions of euros during its ongoing military operations in Mali, reported by France 24 in 2013 to be costing the European nation approximately 2.7 million euros a day. Money spent on costly military operations designed to project Western hegemony across Northern and Western Africa, an extension of the West’s intervention in Libya, would lead one to believe that funds should also be available to prevent “unprecedented epidemics” of deadly diseases like Ebola, but apparently the same preparations made in Uganda have been neglected in French-occupied Mali, as well as other Ebola-prone nations.
While the West poses as chief arbiter of humanity and through its international organizations, intervening when crises strike, its failure to prepare other nations prone to Ebola outbreaks with a management formula already perfected in Uganda at the very least shakes public confidence and trust. When it intervenes in these very nations for geopolitical ambitions under the pretenses of “democracy,” “development,” and “human rights” but utterly fails to address the dire needs of the very people it claims to be rushing to the aid of, such confidence and trust is only further shaken.
Distrust Leads to Suspicion