West Africa’s Ebola epidemic has cruelly exposed the weaknesses of health systems in the countries where it struck. It was understandable that they were not prepared for Ebola, which has never been reported in the region before, but the director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan, says what they lacked was a robust public health infrastructure to deal with the unexpected.
“This requires good background data on the usual,” she says, “so that the unusual stands out. [It means] making good quality care accessible and affordable to everyone, and not just to wealthy people living in urban areas; having enough facilities available in the right places with enough well trained staff and uninterrupted supplies of essential medicines; diagnostic capacity that returns rapid and reliable results; and information systems that pinpoint gaps and direct strategies and resources towards unmet needs.”
SOURCE : IRIN