Reflection on Outbreak, the Ebola Epidemic Video

Reading: Cowan 20.3:589-590 (Ebola) for background

Your assignment is to thoughtfully consider the content of the PBS Frontline video, Outbreak (available on the PBS website (Links to an external site.)), and write a reflection paper as described below.

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Ebola is one of a fairly large number of Emerging Infectious Diseases found in the world today. The existence of such diseases shows clearly that potentially life-threatening infectious diseases have not been fully controlled even with modern medical, public health, and scientific progress. Previous experiences with Ebola outbreaks dating back to the 1970s showed public health agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) that localized Ebola outbreaks could be contained using a three-prong approach: isolation of Ebola cases, monitoring the contacts of the Ebola cases, and safe burial practices. Outbreak describes the recent Ebola epidemic that occurred in the West African countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, and points to numerous circumstances, problems, mistakes, and instances of governmental/institutional ineptitude which created the conditions which allowed the original localized outbreak to become an epidemic.

In your reflection paper:

  • Describe at least FOUR circumstances, problems, mistakes, and/or instances of governmental/institutional ineptitude that were described in the video that helped Ebola to spread from the initial local outbreak and become an epidemic.
  • Discuss the reason(s) WHY these circumstances, problems, mistakes, and/or instances of governmental/institutional ineptitude helped Ebola to spread in light of the previously established effective control measures: isolation of cases, monitoring the contacts of cases, and/or safe burial practices.
  • Discuss your impressions of the abilities of international public health organizations and the governments and health systems of developing countries to respond to infectious disease outbreaks. Be sure to include the potential implications for the health of people worldwide.
  • Assess how this compares to the performance of governments and health systems of DEVELOPED countries during our current COVID-19 pandemic?

Your reflection paper should consist of 5 numbered sections. Sections 1-4 should include one each of the circumstances/problems and the corresponding effect it had on spread of Ebola (bullet points 1 and 2). Your 5th section should address your impressions of our ability to respond to infectious disease outbreaks (bullet points 3 and 4)

Your paper should be 375-500 words in length, which corresponds to 1½-2 double-spaced pages with 1-inch margins, 12 point Times New Roman font, and minimal spacing elements. Late assignments will not be accepted or graded. This assignment is worth 10 points.

FYI: for a page with 1-inch margins, 12 point Times New Roman font, and minimal spacing elements, a good rule of thumb is 500 words for a single-spaced page and 250 words for a double-spaced page.

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