There’s a great story out there about how an evil capitalist company did a better job of fighting Ebola among its Liberian employees than good-hearted governments and nonprofits which haven’t been nearly as successful.
The evil capitalist company was Firestone Tire & Rubber which built a 23-bed isolation unit and provided medical services for 48 stricken people, eighteen of whom survived (good odds with Ebola). The campaign, which included door-to-door education, started when a staff member showed signs of being infected with the Ebola virus:
“None of us had any Ebola experience,” he says. They scoured the Internet for information about how to treat Ebola. They cleared out a building on the hospital grounds and set up an isolation ward. They grabbed a bunch of hazmat suits for dealing with chemical spills at the rubber factory and gave them to the hospital staff. The suits worked just as well for Ebola cases.
Firestone immediately quarantined the family of the woman. Like so many Ebola patients, she died soon after being admitted to the ward. But no one else at Firestone got infected: not her family and not the workers who transported, treated and cared for her.
The story originally was reported by NPR, and I saw Scott Ott’s commentary on PJ Media. Ott has a good explanation of why Firestone has done a better job than governments:
NPR’s report puts emphasis on Firestone’s financial resources, but I think they miss the “X” factor that causes these private-sector employees to succeed outside of their bailiwick: They’re accustomed to setting goals, achieving results and being rewarded based on actual accomplishments. In addition, they’re innovative, and know that one must often improvise and create rapid prototypes on the way to the ultimate product.
The sick and suffering people of Africa don’t need more political speeches, government press releases and empty promises.
They need more Firestones.