September 20th, 2014
01:20 PM ET

Clinton: 3 lessons of the Ebola crisis

Fareed speaks with former U.S. President Bill Clinton about the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

You’ve worked a lot on issues like disease prevention. What lesson do you think we should draw from this outbreak of Ebola and the speed and kind of pace with which it’s spread?  When you look at it, can you tell us about maybe the potential for pandemics or anything?

Well, first, like anybody else who's involved, we have a big presence in Liberia and three of our people, our top people, have stayed in Liberia to help organize the response. So we've all got to figure out, you know, how to coordinate it better. We're going to have a special session on it at CGI (Clinton Global Initiative).

But the lesson we should draw, the lessons are twofold. One is we have to do a much better job in building the health care infrastructure in these countries. We have to increase their capacity, including the capacity to have community health workers go out in these villages and have credibility with people. You know, this tragic story of the health workers being killed in Guinea, it's just terrible.  But if we have more capacity, we can deal with it quicker. So that’s the first thing.

The second thing is we're going to have to get quicker and nimbler at developing biomedical responses, you know, the vaccines or whatever, or cures.

And the third thing is the wealthy countries have got to reexamine how we fund the World Health Organization, because I think they do a marvelous job. But increasingly, as development ministries get more expertise in given areas, they want to fund specific projects in specific countries. And it's clear that the World Health Organization needs a pot of money that can be mobilized in a hurry for emergencies while we wait for the inevitable time delay when America and the U.K. and France and Scandinavia, we all kick in money.

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Topics: GPS Show • Health

soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Sanman

    Team ebola needs your help to wipe out humanity, we are looking for of volunteers to travel down there and help spread the cure

    September 22, 2014 at 2:14 am | Reply
    • Philip

      Team Ebola is currently running in 356th place with 1700 deaths. Team AIDS with 1.7 million deaths annually continues to pull away. For those of you betting on Team Ebola: LMAO. AIDS will win again this year.

      September 22, 2014 at 8:35 am | Reply
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        Good morning, Philip.
        One of the most powerful men in my industry has been kept alive and healthy on HIV medication since the pharmaceutical industry began to fight the virus successfully.
        I'm sure that he is representative of successful and vital contributors to world culture who carry HIV.
        I hope that Ebola will meet its medical mongoose before arriving in the USA on a grand scale.

        September 22, 2014 at 10:21 am |
      • banasy©

        Good morning, JIF.
        I, too, have a friend who contracted HIV as a young woman in the early 90's; she is just fine due to the medical advances of HIV medications.

        (The man who gave it to her has long passed, however.)

        Her hardest choice was the decision not to bear a child.

        The world is just a smidgin brighter while she inhabits it.

        September 22, 2014 at 10:41 am |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        Good morning, banasy.
        I attended many AIDS funerals before the medication was developed. Most were for gay men, but one last visit that really hit me was to a woman who didn't know who I was when I took flowers to her in the hospital.
        I hope your friend does well.

        September 22, 2014 at 11:05 am |
  2. chri§§y

    Me too @ Joey to your 11:05 post. It was in the late 70s and it was my cousin. In fact it was his mother who was one of a group who began pushing for medical marijuana for aids victims!

    September 22, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Reply
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