This is an article about two diseases: cholera and SARS. Pandemics today potentially can spread from one part of the globe to another. The spread of SARS from Hong Kong where it was first identified and isolated, to Toronto (which was particularly hard hit), in part has to do with the new realities of migration and visiting patterns, part of the globalization process. (Lewison, 2008) As well as Rankin (2007) and other note, SARS revealed gaps in preparedness for dealing with a major pandemic in the high-tech industrialized West. Many serious epidemic diseases like cholera seem to be centred in developing nations, where conditions of sanitation, health care and education about hygiene, as well as technologies and infrastructure such as clean water for the majority of people, are not as comprehensive as they are in developed nations like Canada.However, response to cholera, as opposed to SARS, does not lead to public calls for shutting down borders or limiting trade with infected areas, which is what, happened to Toronto during the SARS outbreak. (Lewison, 2008) In part, this is because of the fact that much less was known about SARS transmission, etiology, and prognosis, than is known of cholera. By late 2003, as Lewiston notes the panic over SARS was lessened as scientific papers were published in large numbers revealing the make up of the virus, in the coronavirus family, and the treatment protocol to contain it. (Lewiston: 246) But during the actual crisis front line workers, such as nurses, pharmacists, and doctors had to deal with a huge panic over lack of understanding of the extent of the virus's possible or potential spread. One question to be answered is how do countries prepare better to deal with future epidemics based on what occurred in this situation in Toronto?
[...] The report also notes that many international public health organizations are in Zimbabwe trying to cope with the spreading epidemic, including the International Organization for Migration, The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Medicines du Monde, Medecins Sans Frontieres, OXFAM (WHO: 449-450) The WHO reports on its own activities in the area, including “procuring emergency stocks of supplies deploying a full outbreak investigation and response team, including epidemiologists, water and sanitation engineers and social mobilization specialists. (WHO: 450) Yet, the WHO report contradicts the news, as discussed above, coming out of Zimbabwe, regarding the shutting down of the nation due to political unrest and rivalries and international fears of investment. [...]
[...] (2008) reporting of the risks from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in the news media, 2003-2004” Health, Risk & Society, Vol no pp 241-262 Naidoo, A. and Patric, K. (2002) “Cholera: a continuous epidemic in Africa” The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, June, Vol no pp 89-94 Rankin, John (2006) “Godzilla in the corridor: The Ontario SARS crisis in historical perspective” Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, Vol pp 130-137. Sack, D. et al. (2006) “Getting Serious About cholera”. The New England [...]
[...] The response of the Toronto health community, including the isolation of patients in hospitals with specific SARS wards, and the closing of all hospitals to visitors during the period of the SARS health crisis, can be seen as a very comprehensive, well managed and implemented policy, in comparison to the lack of coordinated health programs to contain cholera in Zimbabwe. Toronto was under intense real stress, as the cause and progress of SARS, the degree of its infection and transmission, was largely unknown. [...]
[...] (Rankin: 134) Through this comparison the politics of epidemics, both in the Canadian and Zimbabwe context as well as in relation to the international WHO response to local outbreaks of highly infectious, controllable diseases, are noted to be a component in response to etiology, prognosis and outcome. Cholera in 2009 in Zimbabwe is most certainly going to spread, especially if the infrastructure continues to collapse. There will have to be more concerted effort to force the Mugabe government to take responsibility, but how this will actually happen considering the limits of interference in sovereign nations could prove a deterrent to full access to those in need of international medical aid. [...]
[...] (Wong et al, 2007) As Wong reports weaknesses in the medical response system to an unknown pathogen were made evident through the SARS crisis in Toronto. (Wong: 50) As Wong reports doctors in Toronto were left to their own devices in trying to figure out what patients who came to their offices were ill with; with doctors on their own in trying to quell panic, while hospitals were closing and out patient clinics as well were shut down for months. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee