It used to be common sense that public services, from transport to health and public works, was the duty of government. That thinking has changed. For-profit private companies are stepping up to take the responsibilities and gleefully earn the profits. But what to do when an epidemic takes place? Who’s to blame, who’s to care? In a wide-ranging interview, celebrated activist Tariq Ali puts the questions to public health academic Professor Allyson Pollock.
Allyson Pollock: Well, Ebola is a virus, nobody quite knows what the origins are, some think it might be from the bat, and it is spread through bodily fluids, so that is an important mechanism. In most normal situations it should be very easily contained by quarantine and by isolation but the big problem in the countries where it is most prevalent, which is Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, is that these are very, very poor countries, where the infrastructure has increasingly been ripped out, especially in terms of health systems and the virus is now in urban areas where there is close human contact, so it makes it very difficult to control and contain especially when it is happening in areas where there is a lot of overcrowding and poverty and poor sanitation.
Click here for the article.