Emergency Ebola Funding is Basic Public Health Imperative

Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014

Statement attributable to:
Robert Wergin, MD
American Academy of Family Physicians

“Ensuring the safety of the American public depends on stopping the Ebola virus in its tracks. Without funding efforts to eradicate this deadly virus at its source and prepare for its presence within our borders, we run the risk of failing to implement basic public health standards.

“Emergency funding for Ebola will build up the U.S. public health system—both nationally and locally—to detect and immediately respond to any potential presence of the disease on our shores. The excellent care provided to Ebola patients transported to the United States for treatment must be more widely available. Establishing 50 Ebola treatment centers across the country will go far in ensuring our nation has the capacity to meet any potential need for the outbreak of dangerous infectious diseases, including Ebola.

“These funds also will procure personal protective equipment to ensure the safety of the brave health care workers who treat Ebola patients. They will also support vital research in clinical trials that evaluate the safety and efficacy of investigational vaccines and treatments.

“Equally important, we must move toward stopping Ebola at the source. Supporting public health and treatment efforts in western Africa will protect Americans’ health and welfare as well as respond to the humanitarian challenge of this disease.

“As a nation, we’re committed to ensuring the health and wellbeing of everyone in this country. Whenever any infectious disease threatens our nation’s health, we must detect potential outbreaks, protect against them and respond immediately when they occur. Emergency funding for Ebola is an essential part of keeping that commitment.”

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Wergin, contact Megan Moriarty,
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 5223, or mmoriarty@aafp.org.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions(5 page PDF) on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit
www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).