Claire Bernish | The Pontiac Tribune
Had Lasker Award-winning group Doctors Without Borders not termed efforts by the World Health Organization to contain a “tragic and avoidable” Ebola outbreak in West Africa as “a global coalition of inaction”, would these 22 doctors and patients have lost their lives early Saturday?
Afghanistan — “Why did they have to blow up the whole hospital?” pleaded Nasratullah, whose 25-year-old cousin Akbar was among doctors killed in the bombing in Kunduz. “We know that the Americans are very clever. If they can target a single person in a car from their planes, why did they have to blow up the whole building?”
Perhaps almost entirely forgotten by the world at large in recent days due to tumult in the Middle East, is the Ebola outbreak of epic proportions still gripping West Africa — with all the controversy brought by the attempt to contain it.
Doctors Without Borders (Médicins Sans Frontières — MSF) lamented what it termed “a global coalition of inaction” ostensibly involved in eradicating the virus.
“The Ebola outbreak has been often described as a perfect storm: a cross-border epidemic in countries with weak public health systems that had never seen Ebola before,” described DWB General Director, Christopher Stokes, in the report titled Pushed to the Limit and Beyond. “Yet this is too convenient an explanation. For the Ebola outbreak to spiral this far out of control required many institutions to fail. And they did, with tragic and avoidable consequences.”
In fact, MSF accused the World Health Organization’s Global Alert and Outbreak Response Network in March of failing to respond either adequately or hastily enough, even though it “possesses the know-how to bring Ebola under control” — “months were wasted and lives lost.”
Lives lost because the WHO refused to categorize the outbreak a “public health emergency” until two months after medical staff on scene advised the declaration necessary.
MSF’s pleaded for assistance as far back as September 2014, with Humanitarian Affairs Director Jens Pederson having stated, “To manage Ebola is not rocket science. It’s very basic infection control and very basic protection of staff.”
Strangely for the crisis which has taken to the back burner of late, Australian response to Ebola fell under intense criticism by Doctors Without Borders the day prior to the hospital in Kunduz coming under attack.
“Countries like Australia with the capacity to make a real difference on the ground are looking at each other to take responsibility, and are refusing to send their own personnel to help,” DWB Australia’s Executive Director, Paul McPhun, stated on the organization’s website.
Response from the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs argued the fundamentals in a press release: “The government has assessed that, at this stage, financial contributions are the best and most efficient way Australia can make a rapid contribution to the global response and support front line health services in the affected countries.”
The more DWB pleaded with Australian officials for supplies and personnel over monetary contributions, the chillier relations seemed to become. As reported in Al-Jazeera, DWB begged Australian government in a statement:
“Australian deployment of even a small number of trained staff would have a very significant impact. Even a dozen trained staff who could oversee local teams to manage an isolation center, help case finding and outbreak control measures would save thousands of lives today.”
Incidentally, NewLink Genetics received an $8.1 million grant from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) of the U.S. Dept. of Defense to advance their Ebola vaccine — and exactly one week later, received an additional $18 million from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) of the Dept. of Health and Human Services, as a contract option.
This funding is in addition to an initial $30 million contract awarded to NewLink late in 2014.
NewLink has since awarded research, development, and manufacturing to the Big Pharma firm, Merck.
Dr. Charles Link, CEO and CSO of NewLink, released a statement on October first that explained:
“This additional funding by BARDA will help NewLink and Merck accelerate large-scale production of this Ebola vaccine candidate and demonstrates government commitment to this important project. In collaboration with Merck, we will continue to work diligently to bring this vaccine candidate to patients in need as quickly as possible.”
Even though 1,200 DWB workers became volunteers in research for this vaccine, total live volunteers fell short of study hopes and led to implementation of a ring model for the study.
Did Obama Bomb Doctors Without Borders for Opposing TPP?
If circumstances of any incident appear not to add up, it’s pertinent to thoroughly examine the current narrative for signs the State is attempting to mold public opinion — because it is there you will find the truth that you’re not being told.
Though the Nobel Prize-winning group has actively but reservedly opposed the massive TPP deal for years, recent letters to President Obama and a campaign of subway ads on the D.C. Metro show a more urgent, public push.
After five days of marathon talks for the TPP in Atlanta, negotiations were pushed back again — but a vote could come as soon as Monday night.
The Pontiac Tribune encourages you to republish this article (Was Doctors Without Borders Bombed Over the Ebola Outbreak?) under a Creative Commons license, with attribution to Claire Bernish and PontiacTribune.com.