Industrial Engineering

Breaking The Back of Ebola

Ebola Handling

Picture source: news.yahoo.com

INDUSTRIAL ENGINEER – VOLUME 46 NUMBER 1

MODELS GIVE DECISION-MAKERS THE DATA TO TACKLE THE DEADLY DISEASE

Washington was one of nine authors of the CDC’s latest Ebola report, “ Estimating the Future Number of Cases in the Ebola Epidemic – Liberia and Sierra Leone, 2014-2015.” After its release on Sept.23, the headlines followed: 1.4 million Ebola cases possible.

Michael L. Washington, an industrial engineer in health system specialist for Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention in Washington D.C. try to build a model to respond the Ebola outbreak.

Modelers provide public health officials with the data they need to make decisions necessary to keep such death tolls confined to newspaper stories. Getting patients into Ebola treatment units is the key to bending the growth curve of the new Ebola cases in West Africa downward, breaking the epidemic’s back.

Despite being hampered by limited data, Washington’s team designed the model for use in the field. The team was authorities on the ground to use it as a planning tool to help allocate resources. For example, a county could determine what the curve of future cases look like and then officials can question what resources they need to accomplish that.