Monday, 20 October 2014

Nigeria nearly Ebola free, Ebola Discrimination remains

The media image of Ebola: I Am Legend photo from GeekTwins

Nigeria is nearly Ebola free thanks to door to door public awareness taken up by the local and national governments and public across the country. Not long after the late Patrick Sawyer originally arrived in Nigeria nearly two months ago, Nigerian officials from national transportation ministry to Lagos and Abuja ministries and educational institutions made it a top priority to reduce the risk of Ebola. Some 28,000 houses and schools of all levels were contacted by educational professionals, medical personnel and state officials (Nigeria is a federal republic separated into federal states like Mexico and U.S.) who went above and beyond to make certain that the public understand the full scope of Ebola, respond to the dangerous of virus in a calm and collective manner. Education certainly played a role in Nigeria's rapid and calm response to battle the virus while Liberia and Sierra Leone are still in panic mode. There are many things many countries fighting the virus can learn from Nigeria. Fear has allowed Ebola to blind the public and some medical officials to solely focusing on the virus while neglecting other yearly diseases that are in need of medical attention and just as necessary to prevent as Ebola. This is the case in Liberia with local hospitals dedicating their medical staff, equipment and facilities to isolating and eradicating Ebola but overlooking other health issues. In the U.S., the CDC has come out with new protocols to manage Ebola patients and halting future cases. Essentially, medical staff will be required with help from specially trained staff to properly cover head to toe in specially crafted Hazmat suits to avoid exposing skin in the quarantine zone. CDC is not taking the threat of Ebola lightly. 


Discriminated by Ebola and old stereotypes diehard

The African child surrounded by words

Nigeria along with Sierra Leone and Liberia have argued that their citizens face discrimination and alienation internationally with the ongoing media driven Ebola scare. The Sierra Leone national football team faced humiliating insults while playing qualifying matches for African Cup of Nations in D.R. Congo and in international matches in Europe and elsewhere. The irony with Congo is that it experienced similar stigma when Ebola first hit in 1970s. If any country should know what a cold shoulder by the world feels like it is D.R. Congo and Uganda. The century old Western stereotype of Africa as a Malaria or diseases placed that everyone should run far away from doesn't help the current health crisis situation. Liberians in the U.S. who have lived in the country for 10-20+ years alongside non threatening travelers abroad have received both fear and anticipation from airport officials, ordinary Americans and foreign officials. Traveling from the three affected countries internationally have been met with flight bans to outright fear bordering on paranoa on flights having sick passengers with flus or common colds. Currently its flu season in the United States with many children and adults going through the usual allergies, colds, fevers and body aches that are not life threatening or remotely related to Ebola. Even other African nations such as Zambia are being portrayed as doomed by Ebola even though it has no reported cases of Ebola. Ebola survivors have also fought against discrimination within their countries. They are treated as both anomalies and as miracles of human perseverance. 


28 Days Later: 

An apocalyptic sci fi/horror movie that realistically portrays London and Britain destroyed by a virus that kills and turns humans into unpredictable, undead beings not quite zombies. Directed by Danny Boyle.



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