Ebola Is A Very Real Threat Mr President - Let's Make Sure We're Prepared
Two more people have died from Ebola in the DRC according to authorities. As the outbreak continues to grow aid agencies are struggling to persuade residents about the severity of this outbreak. History has shown us that often aid agencies fail to understand the nuances of local culture and as a result fail to provide sufficient support to a local community battling Ebola.
At the central market in Mbandaka, where vendors in colourful fabrics hawk smoked monkeys, some residents said they were unmoved by warnings not to consume bush meat since a case of Ebola was discovered in the city of 1.5 million last week.
One mother said “Despite your Ebola stories, we buy and eat monkey meat,” said one woman named Carine, a mother of eight children. “We have eaten that since forever. That is not going to change today. Ebola, that’s in Bikoro.”
More than 11,300 people died in an Ebola outbreak in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone between 2013 and 2016, during which health authorities were widely criticized for their slow response.
For this reason the Zambian government should be on standby – ready to act if the disease moves further towards our borders. The Red Cross has already issued a warning to neighbouring nations:
‘“The risk of spreading within the country and to neighbouring nations remains real,” said Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. “One of the lessons we learnt in our response to other deadly Ebola outbreaks is that complacency can kill.”
Rather than focusing energy and funds on Zambian Airways, the government would do well to turn their attention to the growing Ebola crisis next door and chronic hygiene problems we still have in Zambia. Many towns are still reeling from Cholera outbreaks – if Ebola were to cross our borders, it would be catastrophic