Wednesday, 13 August 2014
Ebola experimental drugs really a sideshow.
As always, the focus on health issues becomes the vaccine or drug treatment rather than figuring out how to prevent the infections and vulnerability of individuals due to physical and social environments. The WHO ethical consultation on experimental drugs has irresponsibly moved the focus of attention to drugs still in the early phases of research. Who and when will we discuss why we are in this current situation where there are no available medical interventions as well as the fact that it is controllable through non-medical interventions.
The ethical consultation also had no representatives from the countries most affected by the Ebola outbreaks.
This piece by the BBC I think does a good job covering some of the issues. Let's be clear that Ebola infections are preventable through non-medical interventions. They require social and behavioural changes. Governments, health institutions, and global health organizations need to focus on helping make those changes. A continued focus on medical interventions, or lack thereof, just shows how narrow the current thinking in global health continues to be.
We also learned how incredibly counter-productive it is to implement the old 'contain and control' approach in the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It seems we are following the same old plan. People who are ill or think they are ill will not want to be identified as they will worry about being quarantined or socially shunned.