A lesson from the Ebola outbreak: “You can’t just order a box of goodwill on demand…”

Ebola treatment centers in Liberia were forced closed after 508 medical professionals died treating patients in 2015. Of the approximately 1,000 patients treated in those centers, fewer than 300 lived.

This I learned during the Keynote Speech at the Rx360 Annual Conference a few weeks ago. Rx360 is a consortium of pharmaceutical companies formed after the 2008 heparin recall. ChemicalInfo is honored to be a member of Rx360, whose mission is to protect patient safety and foster quality care. Former Acting US Surgeon General, who commanded the USPHS Monrovia Medical Unit during the Ebola virus outbreak, delivered the Keynote Speech and told the story of how the US government, with critical support from pharma companies and NGOS, squelched the Ebola outbreak.

Amid the recent major divisiveness in the US, I was inspired by his story. It was nice to be reminded that in a time of global crisis, the US government is often in the lead. I bring this up because of a quote included in the Ebola outbreak presentation:

“You can’t just order a box of goodwill on demand and trust it will be delivered. When a crisis happens, it is not the time to be looking for partners.”

– Gregg Starr, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security

American diplomat, Gregg Starr, was speaking about the network of government agencies, private companies and NGOs that supported those traveling to Liberia after treatment centers were forced closed. The partnerships were already in place. In a time of crisis, they did order a box of goodwill on demand and trust it was delivered—that the deathly virus had been stopped.

I do not for one second compare what we do at ChemicalInfo to the heroic work of these medical professionals. They exemplify the very best of humanity—traveling into a highly contagious and lethal environment to save strangers.

Still I think all business leaders can relate to Mr. Starr’s comment. When a crisis emerges and communities desperately need a box of goodwill, it is not the time to be looking for partners. I am so honored that ChemicalInfo has goodwill with great partners like Sendero, VAZATA, Datamyne, SOCMA, ChemSpec, Rx360, our global agents and others. They allow us to serve up goodwill to our customers at a moment’s notice.

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