La salute ai tempi di Ebola

NEW YORK – Nell'Africa sub-sahariana, un bambino che si ammala di febbre dovrebbe ricevere cure mediche immediate per scongiurare il rischio che muoia di malaria o polmonite. Ma mentre Ebola semina il panico in Liberia – e in Sierra Leone, Guinea e Nigeria – cresce tra le popolazioni locali la tendenza ad associare medici e strutture sanitarie all'esposizione alla malattia. Fare in modo che queste persone continuino a cercare le cure in caso di bisogno richiede un adeguamento degli ambulatori e la volontà di investire in operatori sanitari di comunità (OSC) assunti in loco, che possano assistere i soggetti più vulnerabili a domicilio.

A dire la verità, le carenze del sistema sanitario della Liberia risalgono a molto prima dell'epidemia di Ebola, con circa il 28% dei suoi quattro milioni di abitanti senza accesso a strutture sanitarie adeguate. L'Accordo di pace globale firmato ad Accra nel 2003 ha sicuramente posto fine a una guerra civile durata anni, ma ha anche lasciato il paese con soltanto 51 medici e delle infrastrutture a dir poco devastate.

Avendo pochissimi operatori qualificati a disposizione, rimettere in sesto il sistema sanitario del paese richiede molto più che costruire nuovi ospedali e ambulatori nel suo territorio caratterizzato perlopiù da foreste pluviali. Per fortuna, il governo liberiano, così come altri governi dell'Africa sub-sahariana, riconosce la necessità di investire nella formazione di OSC nelle aree rurali per curare diarrea, polmonite e malaria, le tre principali cause di morte tra i bambini sotto i cinque anni.

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