In late August 2014, Tom Frieden, then director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traveled to West Africa to assess the raging Ebola crisis.
In the five months before Frieden’s visit, Ebola had spread from a village in Guinea, across borders and into cities in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Médecins Sans Frontières, the first international responder on the scene, had run out of staff to treat the rising numbers of sick people and had deemed the outbreak “out of control” back in June.
But when Frieden arrived in West Africa, the World Health Organization, the United Nations agency charged with coordinating the global response to disease outbreaks, had only just declared Ebola to be an international public health emergency. Although WHO had announced a $100 million Ebola action plan the week prior to that declaration, many major donors were still sitting on the sidelines....
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