12 November 2014 By Northern Lights
A leading medical training organisation on the front line of the Ebola outbreak has asked the world’s governments to take the brave step of enforcing quarantines in the fight against the virus – adding the current “inexplicable delay” will result in an international epidemic.
EFP Tactical Medical Group employs 1,500 people worldwide and is training medics in West Africa to respond to the Ebola outbreak and related highly infectious emerging diseases. They say controversy surrounding national quarantines is putting thousands more lives at risk as it could allow Ebola to gain a foothold on another continent while governments debate the issue.
Chief executive Thomas Omogi says the response to Ebola, which has already killed more than 5,000 people, has been “badly designed and poorly implemented” and adds airport checks will fail to detect every case of the disease. He says governments should understand their reactions were “inadequate and ill-informed” and should now ignore public opinion and impose quarantines to prevent the disease from sweeping across the globe.
After first emerging in December 2013 in Southern Guinea, the disease has rapidly spread across Africa and there are now 10,000 recorded cases. World leaders are now radically increasing disaster training and response plans.
In Kenya, the government will be working with a team from EFP including Dr Steven Hatfill and Thomas Omogi with Dr Stephen Juma Ndombi from the Institute of Tropical and Infectious diseases of the University of Nairobi (UNITID), Kenya – a member of the National Disaster Management Unit, an inter-agency organisation established in Kenya.
With recorded cases already emerging in the US and Europe, Mr Omogi says: “Despite the US Government spending £120bn over two decades in preparation for outbreaks and bioterrorism, the initial response to Ebola has been badly designed, and poorly and incorrectly implemented.
“In an effort to minimise public concern or even panic, leading authorities have made over-reaching statements and assumptions that are not fully supported by research. This is an international crisis and every government should be prepared and equipped with the skills they need to respond.”
Mr Omogi says the current policy of screening passengers at airports for high temperatures is ineffective. He adds: “Research shows Ebola patients don’t always display fever symptoms and that means current efforts to halt the virus at the world’s airports don’t go far enough.
“There has been much debate about quarantines, but this delay is inexcusable. No quarantine is completely effective, but several centuries of experience proves national quarantines do make a big difference in halting the spread of diseases. Governments must not be afraid to take this bold step – ultimately it will save lives.”
He adds governments must also do more to protect those tackling the epidemic on the ground and also create rapid response teams to drop into infected zones.
He states: “Workers from around the world have been infected while fighting Ebola. More must be done to equip them with the skills and equipment they need to protect themselves and we must create ways to respond more rapidly to fresh outbreaks.
“This disease presents a threat to the globe and we must do more to prepare for the potential spread of the disease. This is already the largest known epidemic in the virus’ history and we are calling on every government to acquire the skills and the knowledge they need to fight back.”
For more information about EFP Tactical Medical Group, visit http://efptacmed.com/
For more information, contact (UK): +44 -203 – 282 – 7174 or (USA): +1 -866 – 319 – 9874 or email firstname.lastname@example.org