Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Supply Chains, Transportation Infrastructure, and EBOLA

With the recent spread of the EBOLA virus to the United States, I became curious about the role of supply chains in aiding both the containment and the spread of the virus.  Originally, I presumed that the main reason that EBOLA has spread so quickly throughout the West African region was due to the lack of sanitary systems and overall infrastructure. Could it be that the effort to contain EBOLA could have been more successful if these West African countries had better supply chains and transportation infrastructure? Or will it spread just as quickly throughout the U.S despite our leading supply chain systems and superior transportation infrastructure?  Sure enough, I eventually found a news report related to my concerns. 

According to the Huffington Post, one contributing factor to the spread of EBOLA is the lack of transportation infrastructure and supply chains that allow healthcare personnel and supplies to get to the areas with the greatest need.  Therefore, when dealing with EBOLA it is just as important to contribute to the economic development of the region.  Infrastructure and strong supply chains in West Africa would prevent crises similar to this in the future.  This brings me to my ultimate questions.  If the U.S. really intends to aid the effort to alleviate the EBOLA virus and support West Africa, why shouldn’t we focus a majority of our effort towards building infrastructure and stronger health systems in that region?   It seems that by addressing this issue in any other way, we would be addressing the symptoms rather than the root cause of the issue.  

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