Momentum seems to be building on Capitol Hill for some kind of West African travel ban as an anti-Ebola measure. It sounds like a simple solution. But here’s why a travel ban is pointless—or could even make us less safe.
One of the most important jobs in the world will be decided in early November: the World Health Organization’s (WHO) next regional director for Africa. With an annual budget of more than US$1 billion (about 30 percent of the WHO budget) and responsibility for “leadership in matters critical to health,” the person in charge could make a huge difference for health in Africa where much of the world’s disease burden is concentrated. However, the position has not been posted publicly and there is no independent mechanism in place to recommend, interview and evaluate the best qualified candidates.
The priority for policymakers concerned about the Ebola epidemic in West Africa should be to respond to the existing outbreak, treat the victims, and contain its spread. But the longer term lesson is that we need to be willing to spend more on global health.
Should countries be more like shopping malls and compete for investors on the global capital market? Shopping malls have strong incentives to price services efficiently and to deliver them as promised.
More than six months into the worst Ebola outbreak in history, President Obama made the welcome announcement that the US would dramatically step up efforts and lead the global response to combat the deadly disease in West Africa.
The US Government has taken action to respond to the devastating Ebola epidemic in West Africa: about 100 CDC staffers have been deployed, $100 million spent on medical supplies and training, and an additional $75 million planned for 1,000 beds and 130,000 protective suits.