Ebola exposes fallacy of development model

Confirmation of the first case of Ebola by the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) was accompanied by a telling message by its Director Tom Friedan "Ebola can be scary. But there's all the difference in the world between the US and parts of Africa where Ebola is spreading. The United States has a strong health care system and public health professionals."

The clear line here is 'we got this' in ways that African health systems don't.

What this statement does not make clear is why West African health systems are struggling to cope with Ebola and how the international health community — including CDC — have contributed to this problem through a preoccupation with performance and prioritising specific diseases over investment in health systems.

Health systems — hospitals, clinics, procurements structures, research programmes, community health workers, training provision — are the first line of defence in the face of outbreaks such...

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