“Most emerging diseases stem from the transmission of pathogenic agents from animals to humans, most often in rural settings. Globalization of travel and trade increase the chance and speed of outbreaks spreading. “
Most human infectious diseases, especially recently emerging pathogens, originate from animals, and ongoing disease transmission from animals to people presents a significant global health burden. Over one billion cases of human zoonotic disease are estimated to occur annually, and novel emerging zoonoses have resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses.
Given the rich diversity of animal life on our planet, it is not surprising that animals are the source of most human infectious diseases, with centuries of intimate contact with domesticated species facilitating the early transmission of the most adaptable pathogens to humans.
Interface between people, wildlife, livestock, and the environment are a common cause of most of today’s pandemics and most pandemics start in the poorest of areas.
The Recent History of Ebola
On 26 December 2013, an 18-month-old boy named Émile fell ill with high fever and severe diarrhea in a village of the Guéckédou Prefecture in the south of Guinea. Today, we suspect that he might have been infected by a fruit bat or some other wild animal which carried the virus into that area. By the time Émile died, his sister, his mother and his grandmother had already been infected. As more and more people fell ill, the local health authorities suspected cholera or Lassa fever to be the cause, both of which are common in that region.
On 13 March 2014, the Guinean Ministry of Health called WHO and Doctors Without Borders (Médecins sans Frontières, MSF) for support. Eight days later, the message arrived from a special laboratory in Lyon (France): it is Ebola and, moreover, it is the most deadly strain “Zaire” [sic].
Ebola showed us that fragile health systems are the catalyst for uncontrollable outbreaks. It has been stated time and time again that it was not Ebola—a virulent but not very infectious disease, but the fragility of the health systems that led to the disastrous outcomes. An example of this is how Nigeria avoided what could have been a colossal disaster by, among other things, utilizing the existing coherent health system built upon polio eradication efforts. This system mobilized epidemiologists and health workers who were already trained and familiar to the community. Their heroic and quick efforts quelled the dangerous disease just three months after it touched Nigerian soil compared to 14 months in Liberia and 18 months in Sierra Leone.
Rural Healthcare – The Frontline of Pandemic Treatment
Rural areas are usually characterized by a weaker economy, hard and difficult to access terrain, and a lower availability of services and resources.
Considering the rural context, providing equitable, universally accessible, affordable, acceptable, and quality healthcare services is an important challenge for governments around the world.
On one hand, Governments are facing budget constraints, yet on the other hand appropriate allocation of resources is valuable for the effective and efficient delivery of healthcare services and is vital to stopping pandemics in their tracks.
There is a clear need for alternative methods of delivery of healthcare services to select which option can address the most pressing health problems and maximize health gain. Owing to its low cost, transportability, ease of deployment and effectiveness, the MediCart provides such a solution.