Modern medicine owes a debt to West Africans for past sacrifices made in the advancement of global health. The announcement by President Barack Obama of a U.S. commitment to build 17 Ebola treatment centers in Liberia, train medical workers, provide testing kits, and offer logistic support is a welcome and needed response.

It should be the start of a long-term, concerted effort to strengthen the public health infrastructure, which is critical to the region’s future stability.