Cuba leads fight against Ebola in Africa as west frets about border security
Posted By: IZAKOVIC
Date: Monday, 17-Nov-2014 08:46:25
The island nation has sent hundreds of health workers to help control the deadly infection while richer countries worry about their security – instead of heeding UN warnings that vastly increased resources are urgently needed
The Observer, Sunday 12 October 2014
Cuban doctors and health workers arrive at Freetown's airport to help the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone. Photograph: Florian Plaucheur/AFP/Getty Images
As the official number of Ebola deaths in west Africa’s crisis topped 4,000 last week – experts say the actual figure is at least twice as high – the UN issued a stark call to arms. Even to simply slow down the rate of infection, the international humanitarian effort would have to increase massively, warned secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.
“We need a 20-fold resource mobilisation,” he said. “We need at least a 20-fold surge in assistance – mobile laboratories, vehicles, helicopters, protective equipment, trained medical personnel, and medevac capacities.”
But big hitters such as China or Brazil, or former colonial powers such France and the UK, have not been stepping up to the plate. Instead, the single biggest medical force on the Ebola frontline has been a small island: Cuba.