Para Além do Ébola

WASHINGTON, DC – Os Estados Unidos e a Europa reagiram exageradamente a alguns casos isolados do vírus Ébola dentro das suas fronteiras. Estas respostas geradas pelo pânico não são apenas fúteis. Ao violarem princípios científicos básicos, desafiam o critério ético fundamental para a acção obrigatória de saúde pública. E quanto à protecção dos cidadãos relativamente ao Ébola – para não falar na prevenção do surgimento de futuras crises sanitárias globais comparáveis – estas respostas poderão mesmo ser contraproducentes.

Os exemplos mais flagrantes de exagero ocorreram nos EUA, onde a resposta inicial implicou uma triagem reforçada aos viajantes provenientes da Guiné, Libéria, e Serra Leoa. Mais problemática foi a instituição, em vários estados, de quarentenas obrigatórias de 21 dias para os trabalhadores voluntários de saúde regressados aos EUA e provenientes de países atacados pelo Ébola. Felizmente, a reacção política contra as ordens de quarentena impeliu alguns governadores estaduais a aligeirá-las.

Chegou o momento dos países desenvolvidos reconhecerem que o melhor modo de proteger os seus cidadãos do Ébola é ajudar a parar a difusão do vírus na África Ocidental. Isto requer, em primeiro lugar e acima de tudo, uma “resposta a surtos” sustentada contra o Ébola nos três países mais afectados. Esta resposta deverá ser sustentada por financiamento adequado (e considerável); por médicos, enfermeiros e trabalhadores comunitários de saúde bem formados; e por uma capacidade local melhorada para o diagnóstico, tratamento, rastreio de contactos, e isolamento dos indivíduos infectados.

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