Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Ending Transmission in Guinea: The French and Russian Contributions
"France has been mobilized since the beginning of the crisis, in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the authorities of the countries concerned. It is providing technical support and expertise to contain the epidemic. Our embassies, particularly in Guinea (which also has jurisdiction for Sierra Leone) and Liberia, are in close contact with the health monitoring and care facilities established in each of those countries. France particularly supports the high-security mobile laboratory project implemented by Inserm in partnership with the Pasteur and Mérieux Institutes. This laboratory makes it possible to safely and more accurately diagnose outbreaks. It will supplement the facilities already in place, particularly the Pasteur Institute’s laboratory in Dakar as well as a European laboratory. It receives funding from the European Commission." Source:http://www.ambafrance-uk.org/France-is-helping-deal-with-ebola
While headlines on ending the Ebola crisis in West Africa seem to take a 'first in' approach as if this were a competition, the 'last out' will surely be the determining factor which brings the Ebola epidemic to an end. Both France and Russia have made impressive contributions toward ending this outbreak and their long term approach to building a public health infrastructure across West Africa will no doubt protect local and global populations for years to come. The low key approach taken by the French, Russians and the disaster medicine organization Medicines sans Frontieres, in contrast to rushing in (usually with press in tow) and pulling out swiftly once the media has moved on to a different calamity, by some governments, should well be noted for future outbreaks of emerging and re-emerging disease. It is the opinion of this author that attitudes toward war bear a striking resemblance to fighting a war on disease. The first in, while making headlines don't always factor into the longer term solutions.
The quiet contributions of the French and Russians, combined with the highly resolute Medecins sans Frontieres, has probably been one of the most enduring efforts which will bring Ebola to an end while simultaneously supporting a devastated public health infrastructure. According to France Diplomatie, the French contribution in Guinea involves several pillars which provide long term solutions:
"In 2014, France launched an emergency response plan based on the following pillars: medical treatment (funding equipping and setting up Ebola Treatment Centres (ETC's), setting up of laboratories); training and protecting those combating the crisis (training centres, a health-care worker treatment centre, medical evacuations); supporting local communities (awareness-raising activities, safe and dignified burials). This plan has proved effective in the countries concerned but the battle against the epidemic has not yet been won. In 2015, France is adapting its plan to respond appropriately as the epidemic develops. It is pursuing three main objectives: controlling and eradicating the epidemic; tackling other health emergencies that are not related to Ebola; anticipating future crises." (http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/french-foreign-policy/health-education-gender/fight-against-the-ebola-epidemic/article/fight-against-the-ebola-epidemic-19978). In addition to this the French Government has a longer term support plan in place.
"The Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency - AFD) is providing €4 million for the creation of an Institut Pasteur in Conakry. To complement this, France is funding the Institut Pasteur and Fondation Mérieux to build laboratory capacities in Guinea. The aim is to provide: