UPDATE : 2020.9.23 Wed 17:22
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The Issue of Dispatching a Medical Team

Ebola is spreading not only in Africa but in North America. On Oct. 17th, Korea decided to dispatch a medical team. Some people expect positive effects but there are also concerned voices about this. Although it entails many risks, I personally think we should dispatch a medical team.

With the Ebola virus being detected in more and more countries, we should offer help as a member of the international community. I disagree on dispatching a medical team without any countermeasures. However, if we prepare thoroughly for all eventualities including possible infection, it may help others. We can acquire manuals on how to deal with infectious diseases. Based on these, we can cope with the Ebola virus in Korea effectively. We can also improve coping methods for any pandemic that may arise.

This is Korea’s first time sending medical personnel to fight a pandemic. We should learn many things from other medical teams and people. I hope we can play a useful role in the international community based on this experience.

Since President Park Geun-hye announced Korea’s intention to send medical personnel to help fight Ebola, while attending the Asia-Europe Meeting, the plans have been put into place quickly. I do however think that this is a veil and there is no specific safety system. The government said they are making various plans to prevent the spread of the Ebola infection, but in reality, they are not prepared to deal with it yet. Not only has Korea never had to deal with a large scale pandemic, but our medical workers didn’t receive enough training on the use of protective medical gear. Also, the Ebola vaccine is still under development, so what can our medical team do in West Africa? Instead of hurrying the send off of the medical team, it is important that the government set up a careful plan. I think it is not too late to send medical personnel when we can do ‘real help’ for them. As a member of the international community, it is right to provide humanitarian assistance. However, we should know we may lose our people. At this time, more than 200 medical personnel are infected, which accounts for 5 percent of all Ebola patients. The government should remember the medical teams are also citizens of our nation, and the state has a duty to protect them.

Lee Ha-eun  -

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