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How can Ebola be contained?

Global Matters: Our experts discuss how to deal with one of the crucial global challenges of the 21st century: pandemics.

News from Sep 23, 2014

Moving people, goods and services and flows is a core pillar of globalization. But it is this all-encompassing moving around and across borders that makes it so difficult to fight a global health problem.

Among issues of national pride, superstition and skepticism in affected African nations, the Ebola cause has been fighting to gain air time, recognition and funding against a series of equally newsworthy global conflicts. But the prospects don’t look good. Experts warn that unless security measures are ramped up, the global health issue will not be contained.

This week on Global Matters, our experts discuss how to deal with that challenge. Prof. Shen Dingli, Associate Dean at Fudan University’s Institute of International Studies, argues that strong governance is required in order to slow, if not stop, the flow of people, at least for a while. “Let us take the case of SARS in China in 2003 for example. When SARS spread in China in the spring, the Chinese government initially failed to inform the public properly, causing great fear. Then it quickly reversed its approach by rendering transparency and taking strong measures to combat the SARS.“

CGP director Klaus Segbers paints a grim picture, pointing to a dramatically underfunded WHO and the fact that global attention is more focused on current conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine. “But especially Europe has to watch out”, Segbers stresses. “We do register significant flows of refugees from Africa moving North. This may create unpleasant surprises.”

Join the debate here.

Photo: NIAID/Flickr/Creative Commons