Thursday, October 9, 2014


A part of our continent is under lock. Life, as we know it, has come to a halt.

No schools in session, no normal markets, postponed elections in Liberia, spontaneous quarantines and millions of lost revenue is what best describes the impact of the Ebola epidemic on the Africa continent.

Meeting after meeting of fundraising but little seems to change at the heart of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea's devastated communities.

For eleven months now the West was looking away thinking that this was just another African problem that can be handled within the continental borders.

Only after American citizens contacted the disease did we see US President Barack Obama calling for global response and declaring the epidemic as a threat to world security.

The follow-up reaction has been found wanting with the focus being on stringent checks at some airports in the US, all this after a Liberian man who was diagnosed within America was hospitalised and later died.

I am in total agreement with what World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, said at the Ebola Crisis High-Level Meeting held in Washington.

He says relying on a strict regime of incoming-flight checking as a way to deal with Ebola is like placing wet towels under your door when the whole house is on fire.

"You've got to put the fire out," he sums it up

The fight must be taken to where it started and a wholesale integrated strategy must be first employed to uproot the problem.

If stakeholders fail to understand the communal life of Africanism and the empathy bonding that comes with it then more Ebola cases will emerge and the response will still be inadequate. This is not about money alone.

Any more delay at this stage might allow the epidemic to spread to other parts of Africa and that will be a complete disaster. Most Africa governments cannot manage to deal with the problem of this magnitude due to poor and underfunded health systems.

Now imagine an Africa with Ebola spread from one end to the other? How many communities would grasp the fact that contact with a terminally ill person or a corpse is a no-no requirement?

What Africa needs in enormous amounts is social propaganda or a complete rethink. Africa needs information on how to handle the disease.

Without being negative about America's intervention, I still believe that empowering local armies, hospital staff and even common people with information, equipment and moral support is enough to get things done.

Thank you for the 4000 troops but 4000 well-informed common people in West Africa can get things done.

I am well reminded of a Liberian girl who improvised plastic bags and used them to cover her mouth, hands and feet in the process saving four of the five members of her family.

Empower Africans because they understand their communal way of life. Empower them with information, give them necessary materials and let them do the job led by their health personnel.

Once again, the fight against Ebola must be intensified in the hot spot (Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone)failing which the impending millions of deaths and an economic backlash of $33 billion by next year are a gazing reality.

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