It is the proliferation of panic and misleading information concerning the disease. Irresponsible reporting and rash decision-making will only prolong the epidemic and its aftermath. Diplomatic and economic isolation will only make the situation worse.
This is something the Head of the I.M.F, Christine Lagarde, knows all too well.
In a strongly worded statement at a news conference following meetings of the IMF and the World Bank in Washington (read in full here), her priorities were evident:
‘Let me preface anything I will say with one presentation, which is the button that I’m wearing on my jacket. You can take photos if you like, that’s fine. It says “Isolate Ebola, Not Countries.” That was given yesterday to me by President Condé of Guinea.
I will start with Ebola. Obviously more will be said about Ebola later on at the Development Committee press conference, but I just want to remind you all that the IMF went really very quickly out of its way to put in place a facility for the three countries of 130 million dollars; they were made available very quickly so that the countries could have the benefit of budgetary support in order to face the very, very difficult situation that the they are facing; all three are under IMF programs.
I think we took the opportunity of the IMFC actually to remind exactly that principle, that the purpose is to eradicate Ebola but not to isolate the countries themselves.’
The ‘Isolate Ebola, Not Countries’ campaign was designed to raise awareness about the epidemic and the best way to minimise and contain its devastating effect – on victims, on the countries and on the continent as a whole.
TRUE developed the campaign with President Condé and his team. As well as being endorsed by many prominent figures in the international community, it was featured in the New York Times, the Financial Times, Libération and other news outlets.
The campaign encapsulates our commitment to fighting this terrible disease. As Tom Frieden, Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote in the Financial Times:
‘The only way to stop the epidemic is to isolate and care for patients, not to quarantine entire communities, areas, or countries. Patients, communities, and countries that are fighting Ebola need our support.’
Please support our campaign by displaying the badge wherever you can. This is a call to action that governments and businesses cannot ignore.