Giving Compass' Take:

• The Henry J Kaiser Foundation examines the current alarming outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo and compares the current health response to the outbreak in 2014. One key change: the World Health Organization seems better equipped now to handle the crisis.

• It's useful for health organizations and those involved in international aid to look at the lessons learned from past infectious disease approaches. How can we do better?

• One thing hindering medics in the DRC: fear and suspicion.

In early May 2018, a new Ebola outbreak was declared in the central African nation of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). DRC has experienced multiple Ebola outbreaks since the virus was first discovered within its borders in 1976, but this latest one has raised concerns due to its size (58 cases and 27 deaths reported to date), and its spread to a large city.

In addition, it is the largest Ebola outbreak since 2014, when a major Ebola epidemic hit West Africa and highlighted weaknesses in the ability of international institutions and governments to respond to such events. At that time, the United States ended up playing a major role in helping to control the outbreak, providing more financial assistance than any other donor, mobilizing large numbers of U.S. staff from multiple departments and agencies, and jump-starting a broader, worldwide effort to strengthen global health security.

Thus far, however, the USG has played a much less prominent role in the DRC outbreak. On the one hand, this has led some to raise questions about the U.S. response, suggesting that more is needed; there are already broader questions about the future of U.S. commitment to global health security efforts. On the other, today’s context is quite different from that of 2014 and there is an improved international response capacity resulting in quick action by the World Health Organization, the DRC, and other partners to the latest outbreak.

Read the full article about the differences between the latest Ebola outbreak and 2014's by Josh Michaud and Jennifer Kates at Kaiser Family Foundation.