I try not to think about epidemics like Ebola or the Zika virus -- especially the possibility of them becoming pandemics and reaching me. That aspect of public health has always scared me; the threat of disease seems as if it is always there. Prior to this course in which I’ve become more familiar with global public health as a whole, I viewed this threat of disease as something that we as humans had no control of. Similar to what John Green talked about in his crash course video -- humans tend to leave out major epidemics when telling their own histories because it doesn’t match up with the idea that we have control of our stories and our destinies. Diseases and their effects on us seem virtually unpreventable, and thinking about them makes me realize how little control I have.
Since reading Bill Gates’ article, however, I’ve been exposed to a new way to address the issue. I really only heard about the Ebola crisis from the news, so I was under the impression that those working against it were doing the best that they can. While this may have been the case, I now know that the global policy itself could have been better -- we got kind of lucky with Ebola. We were lucky that scientists were already working towards a cure before the epidemic. If they had not been, their unpreparedness combined with the late response to the issue would have resulted in a crisis much worse than what we dealt with.
Initially, this worried me. Even when it seemed like we had something handled, it turned out that we didn’t. Then Gates spelled out a plan that made sense to me. If we could have each country with a set number of volunteers ready at all times to help out in epidemic/pandemic situations, we wouldn’t be caught in a situation where we can’t reach the problem quickly enough. And if we were able to somehow link with the military for transportation purposes, we could move even faster. Seeing a plan well formulated like Gates’ plan made me feel more at ease. I’m still concerned for our future with more antibiotic-resistant bugs out in the world, but seeing how we can have more of a say in what happens with a plan makes me feel better. As the next generation in charge of global health policy, it is up to us to implement plans like these so that we can be better prepared.