America’s efforts to limit misinformation about the disease have been lacking.
Just a month ago, the prospects of a patient being diagnosed with, let alone contracting, Ebola on U.S. soil seemed remote. However, not only did the first U.S. Ebola patient succumb to the disease at a Texas hospital, two health care workers who cared for him subsequently tested positive for the virus. Just as one healthcare worker was pronounced Ebola free, a new case of Ebola was diagnosed in New York City. The governors of New York and New Jersey then set forth a mandatory 21-day quarantine for health care workers returning to their states who have cared for Ebola patients abroad.
These events have demanded the full attention of the government authorities and health care systems that are charged with managing the immediate risk of Ebola to protect patients, health care providers and the community at large. But public health emergencies and disasters are much more easily managed when communities pursue the parallel goals of preparedness and resiliency, the ability to bounce back and recover from a public health emergency or disaster, in advance. Communities that invest in strengthening relationships across various sectors can be better positioned to craft successful strategic responses in times of emergency.
By Mahshid Abir and Richard Serino, November 7, 2014