Investing in People Stops Outbreaks Faster
When Dr. Aristide Abah stepped off the plane that brought him from Atlanta back to his home in Cameroon, there was no time to waste. An outbreak of H5N1 flu threatened the country, and it was up to Dr. Abah to lead the response. Fortunately, he was prepared. Dr. Abah had just spent 4 months at CDC headquarters as part of a fellowship that invites public health experts from all over the world to learn how to organize an emergency response in their country. These investments in preparedness are paying off. Just over a year before, it took Cameroon 8 weeks to activate its public health emergency operations center in response to a cholera outbreak; during the H5N1 outbreak, it took less than 24 hours to activate the response, resulting in zero transmissions to humans.