Unite to fight Ebola: Ethiopia showing the way

By Kesete Birhan Admasu  (MD)

Dr. Kesetebirhan AdmasEthiopia bid farewell to 187 health professionals who have volunteered  to work in Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa.

Our health workers  have arrived safely in Sierra Leone and Liberia. They will undergo a two-week training program before they embark on the fight against the dead Ebola  virus disease. Another cohort of 20 or so health professionals will also  depart for West Africa next week. This makes Ethiopia the largest  African contributor of health professionals to the Ebola mission.

The  deployment of volunteers is in response to a call made by the African  Union to its member states as there is critical shortage of health  workforce in the affected countries.  As many experts on the ground agree, the Ebola outbreak is reaching its  tipping point. If we ramp up the response considerably, there is good  evidence that the virus could be stopped.

On the other hand, if  complacency sets in or the response dwindles down, we will be facing a  potentially chronic problem with high probability of spread to the rest of  the continent and the globe at large. That is why the deployment of  volunteer health workers by member states through the African Union  Support to the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA) mechanism is  so critical and timely in turning the tide against this deadly disease.

The decision by the Government of Ethiopia to deploy health  professionals to West Africa demonstrates the solidarity of African  alliance in protecting our citizens. It is also to the best of our national  interest to fight the disease at its source rather than waiting for the virus  to strike home. There is high degree of mobility of people in Africa and  our borders are porous.

So, wait and see is not the right approach to  contain the disease. As Madam Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union  Commission, eloquently put it we as Africans are not free until all  affected countries are free of the virus.

Read more at: The Reporter