The Challenges of Fighting the Ebola Virus: The Issue of Food
In international relations, we often examine how a host of factors are interconnected with regards to domestic or transnational issues. And looking at the case of the Ebola virus, it is not different. In order to combat this disease, it takes a great deal of coordination not just in the country where the Ebola virus spread, but also within multiple actors in the international system. For example, local governments usually work with local and international NGOs to identify where the Ebola virus may have spread, and to work to treat those that may have come in contact with the virus. Furthermore, there are education efforts for communities. In addition, international actors may often promise aid to fight the disease. Then, it is critical to ensure that the aid promises are met, and that there is sufficient aid (such as medical supplies), but also that the aid delivered in a timely fashion, as well as to where it is needed.
In an Al Jazeera story written by Amy Maxmen, there is another issue that also needs to be addressed when fighting the Ebola virus; namely, the issue of food. As Maxmen explains, some who have quarantined for the 21 day incubation period have not received food supplies delivered since near the beginning of January. With regards to the virus, “failing to provide food to quarantines presents a health hazard to those roped off, and it discourages people from coming forward when they might be at risk of Ebola. Further, those quarantined will undoubtedly seek ways to satiate their hunger by leaving their confines — potentially putting others at risk” (Maxmen, 2015). In fact, in some cases, “several contact tracers say that quarantined families, demanding food, have refused to talk about their health because they’re hungry. An official from the World Health Organization stops in to listen, nods and moves on without addressing the food concerns” (Maxmen, 2015).
Thus, it is critical that food supplies be delivered immediately so that families will receive the proper sustenance. In such a dire situation, it is necessary to not only focus on medicines and professional medical aid to fight the Ebola virus, but also to address all other effects of the disease, such as clean water, access to food, education for children.