SAN FRANCISCO – The Ebola outbreak is still ongoing, but leaders of the international response to the disease have already taken away several key lessons. During a panel in San Francisco, a handful of leaders who have been involved with the response to the disease offered their observations to an audience of health and technology experts.
A clear message from today’s panel is that Ebola will continue to be a going concern in Africa and around the world. In order to combat that, the international community will have to work together on intervening faster and more effectively, as well as developing new technologies and strategies for dealing with crises like this one. In addition, it will require work from around the world.
“It’s not ‘not in my backyard,'” Madina Rahman, Sierra Leone’s deputy minister for health and sanitation, told the group gathered in San Francisco’s Innovation Hangar. “We see that Ebola has a mind of its own and it can go wherever it wants to go. We all here don’t know too much yet about this virus.”
One of the key cornerstones of the response to future outbreaks is the formation of the African Union’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Modeled after the U.S.’s CDC, the agency will be charged with coordinating health program development and response to health crises across the continent.
Today’s panel was a part of the Ebola Innovation Summit, hosted by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen kicked off the event today with a brief opening statement calling on the assembled attendees to pursue further innovation, even as Ebola has faded from the public eye.
Dr. David Nabarro, the United Nations’ special envoy on Ebola, echoed Allen at the close of his talk.
“All of you, innovate in every way you can,” he said. “Because this needs the collective energy of all of us behind it.”