World Health Organization
Forest Hills Eastern
Ebola Virus Disease, although rare, is a severe and often fatal illness. According to the World Health Organization, the average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Ebola is contagious and can be spread through direct contact with animals and humans, dead bodies, and bodily fluids. It is most prominent in West Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The United Nations has made countless efforts on the prevention of Ebola. According to the Global Resilience System, in 2014, the UN adopted two resolutions: the General Assembly resolution 69/1 and the Security Council resolution 2177. The resolutions increased response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and led to the establishment of the UNMEER on 19 September 2014. According to the Global Ebola Response, The United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response aimed to stop the outbreak, treat the infected, ensure essential services and resources, preserve stability, and prevent further outbreaks. Additionally, the UN Secretary-General appointed a Special Envoy on Ebola and established the Global Ebola Response Coalition.
Although there have been a few false alarms, there has been no real cases of Ebola outbreaks reported in Portugal. The risk of Ebola in Portugal can increase if the disease spreads further into countries like Guinea-Bissau. Portugal has instilled several protective measures against Ebola. Health Minister, Paulo Macedo, told the Parliamentary Health Committee that Portugal was fully prepared to respond to any potential cases of Ebola and had been assured that the health system would be supplied with the experimental treatment used on patients that survived the disease in the United States. According to the Portuguese American Journal, Portugal has set up a rear-guard base to prevent and fight Ebola at the Bissau Military Hospital. Portugal has also sent medical teams and 15 tons of medications to Guinea-Bissau to help the fight against the Ebola virus and other potential epidemics. Valentina Mendes, Guinea-Bissau Minister of Health, stated: “Portugal is going to create a base at the military hospital and that is where the equipment and staff that come are going to be installed.” Temporarily in the past, TAP Air Portugal did not permit direct flights between Lisbon and Bissau. According to Algarve Daily News, Portugal’s National Public Health Council set key actions and information alerts for health professionals and airport staff to identify, isolate, and treat any victims of the Ebola virus. Later, Paulo Macedo set up an Ebola Response Unit to prevent infected people from entering the country. Portugal is a member of the World Health Organization and follows the International Health Regulations adopted by the WHO. The purpose of the IHR is “to prevent, protect against, control, and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease in ways that are commensurate with and restricted to public health risks, and which avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.” According to Portugal’s member profile of the DAC on the OECD, Portugal is the 20th largest donor for Development Assistance Committee and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Portugal will be able to provide some financial aid for countries with Ebola and finance research on Ebola medication.
Portugal believes that the United Nations will be able to reduce the amount of Ebola cases by giving quicker and more effective responses from organizations and countries. Portugal recommends developing preparedness plans in case of an outbreak, as well as raise awareness of risk factors and educate citizens about ebola. Countries with good medical centers and equipment can provide infected people with supportive care, such as rehydration, and treatment of specific symptoms to improve survival. While health workers are treating patients, they should strictly practice infection control precautions to not get infected. This should occur with burial services as well. Scientists could work together to develop better cures and vaccines. In the past, Ebola survivors have been forgotten, creating a risk of continued Ebola transmission. The UN could create a dedicated program to support the medical and psychosocial challenges Ebola survivors face. The United Nations must join together in getting rid of this disastrous disease.
- Palak Rekhani