Providing effective communication is critical to ensuring health care workers feel informed and safe at work. Nursing union representatives have clearly expressed that nurses do not feel prepared for Ebola in their hospitals. Media stories have documented how personal protective equipment and training for front line health workers hasn't been available in all hospital locations across the country.
Canada should and could have a role, working through the World Health Organization, to create such basic systems, through international aid. But, it must also look internally to the failure of our own health system to serve the needs of our Northern peoples where TB is highest (234 cases per 100,000) primarily because of inadequate housing and overcrowding.
The extent of the infection of the public mindset inevitably rises towards the apex of a full-blown panic. At this point, the reaction is given a name as if it has become its own threat. In this case, the word was an almost too perfect mix of the reaction and the cause: Fearbola. But as seen in the last week, once the apex has been reached, there is no other direction to go than down back towards calm.
My conversation with Sierra Leone shows once again that there is much work to be done, and that international community must urgently step-up its response. Canada can and must do more to help the people of West Africa, and must turn its announcements into commitments on the ground. As the United Nations said, a humane world cannot allow Africa to suffer on such an extraordinary scale.
Disaster management is the preparation for, mitigation of, response to, and recovery from adverse events that transcend 'regular' emergencies while political philosophy asks the 'big' questions about power in society -- who gets what, and why? And when a fatal disease without a known cure moves rapidly from human to human it's not just about food supplies and First Aid Kits -- the question of who gets what, and why, becomes central.
In 1934 and 1935, two polio vaccines were prematurely employed in large-scale trials with disastrous results. The vaccines, given to 17,000 children in Canada and the U.S., killed six and paralyzed a dozen others, the deaths and paralyses typically involving paralysis in the inoculated arm rather than in the legs, as was more normal. So traumatic was this experience -- to both the public and the research establishment -- that it would take another two decades before another polio vaccine would be brought to market.