Fighting disease is a permanent battle
President Barack Obama has made it clear he believes the route to peace leads through a campaign of making people in other nations like Americans. Nothing accomplishes that like saving lives abroad.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf visited Washington last week. Part of her trip was to visit with Obama administration officials and members of Congress.
Let us hope Sirleaf convinced them that though Ebola makes few headlines now, the battle against it is far from over.
Liberia had been the center of an Ebola outbreak that, to date, has killed nearly 9,400 people in West Africa. Sirleaf’s nation appears to be recovering.
But in the two other hardest hit countries, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the number of Ebola cases has increased during the past month. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said recently that “we face a critical turning point. The pattern of the Ebola epidemic has changed.”
Another turning point – a decline in Americans’ concern about Ebola – also has been reached. Battling the disease no longer is viewed as a priority.
It should be. Ebola and other “emerging” diseases are terrible threats to the entire world. If they can be beaten in Africa, Americans will be safer.
And our nation will have earned some thankful friends. Obama and lawmakers should recognize that, and ensure Ebola research remains a focus.