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The world health system, such as it is, has “failed miserably” in its response to the recent Ebola outbreak according to World Bank President Jim Kim. Kim also said that due to those failures the disease will continue to spread throughout the world.

Ebola has already killed over 3,800 people in West Africa. Ebola cases have now surpassed 8,000 with the World Health Organization believing the numbers are likely larger due to under-reporting in countries such as Liberia. The health systems in West Africa are seemingly inadequate to the task at hand.

Secretary of State John Kerry, in an op-ed for The Washington Post, said other countries had to “step up” to combat the Ebola outbreak as the US has taken on most of the costs for the response effort as measured by the UN donations. The US has had its own Ebola problems with Thomas Eric Duncan who died earlier this week and may have infected others in the Dallas, Texas area.

I want to expand that effort with an urgent plea to countries around the world to step up even further. While we are making progress, we are not where we need to be. There are additional needs that have to be met in order for the global community to respond effectively to this challenge — and to make sure that we protect people in all of our countries.

Those needs are described in these slides. They show the very real need for more countries to move resources of specific kinds. It is not just a question of sending people, though it is vital to send people. But we need Ebola treatment units. We need health-care workers. We need medevac capacity. We need mobile laboratories and staff.

By all accounts the response to the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has failed. The virus has not been contained locally, regionally, or globally. Ebola has not only been found in the US but now has been found in the EU as a nurse in Spain has been quarantined. Its spread within West Africa remains unabated.

Whether or not the global community can get its act together remains to be seen. There does not seem to be any scalable plan to deal with the Ebola outbreak nor movement to form one. The hope seems to be that the virus will just dissipate in West Africa after enough isolated people die and hence cannot spread the disease through direct contact – yes, that’s the rosy scenario. Otherwise the disease will continue to spread with death a likely result for almost all those it touches.

Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.