Sunday, August 03, 2014

Ebola - The Blame is Capitalism

The outbreak of one of the most lethal strain in the family of Ebola viruses has been blamed for the deaths of 729 people and has left over 1,300 people with confirmed or suspected infections.

Dr. Margaret Chan, the W.H.O. director general said, “If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives but also severe socioeconomic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries.” Dr. Chan said that the virus seemed to be spreading in ways never seen before. “It is taking place in areas with fluid population movements over porous borders, and it has demonstrated its ability to spread via air travel.” In its early stages Ebola’s symptoms are very similar to influenza and hard to detect. Fortunately, the disease differs from the flu in that it cannot be transmitted through the air, but instead requires some exposure to bodily fluids.

Professor John Ashton, the president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, Britain's leading public health doctor, wrote  “ We must also tackle the scandal of the unwillingness of the pharmaceutical industry to invest in research on treatments and vaccines, something they refuse to do because the numbers involved are, in their terms, so small and don't justify the investment. This is the moral bankruptcy of capitalism acting in the absence of a moral and social framework." Professor Ashto said "The real spotlight needs to be on the poverty and environmental squalor in which epidemics thrive and the failure of political leadership and public health systems to respond effectively. The international community has to be shamed into real commitment... if the root causes of diseases like Ebola are to be addressed."

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