How Cuba Could Stop the Next Ebola Outbreak
What follows is a modest proposal. It endeavors to solve three crucial problems all at once: U.S.-Cuba relations; the post-Ebola human resources deficits in physicians for Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia; and the scarcity of skilled nurses in those same countries.
When the Ebola virus of the recent outbreak first surfaced, undetected in the village of Meliandou, Guinea, in December 2013, its spread across those countries was in part facilitated by the desperate state of health-care systems in the three poor, post-civil war nations. These countries never did have enough skilled health workers; Ebola has claimed the lives of devastating numbers in their ranks; and slowing the epidemic prompted the nations to lean heavily on the generosity of the Cuban government, which sent physicians to West Africa’s rescue. In many cases, the Cubans toiled inside facilities financed by U.S. taxpayers, and poignantly the U.S. Department of Defense swore willingness to treat infected Cubans should it be necessary — in the Army-built treatment unit outside Monrovia, Liberia.
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