The Los Angeles Times quotes Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham on how Nigeria and Senegal handled the Ebola threat:
Nigeria and Senegal took different approaches to the question of whether to restrict travel to and from the countries hardest-hit by Ebola: Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
It was a choice based in part on questions of geography, said J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.
By contrast, Pham said, public health officials have been keeping tabs “rather loosely” on most of those who came into contact with Ebola patients in the United States. He cited the example of a nurse who was allowed to travel by plane with a low-grade fever before being diagnosed with Ebola, as well as a lab technician who went on a cruise while being monitored for possible exposure but tested negative for the virus.
The African approach is “a bit of an imposition,” Pham said during a conference call Tuesday organized by the Foreign Policy Initiative, a Washington think tank. “But better safe than sorry.”
Senegal encouraged public cooperation by providing assistance to those who had come into contact with its patient in the form of money, food and counseling. The government also sought to protect their identities along with that of the patient.
“They didn’t turn them, if you will, into pariahs,” Pham said. “It’s the right thing to do, but also good policy.”