Opinion

Ebola does not kill, Ignorance does kill

Africa, a land without cold, severe and harsh weather could be a paradise on earth to live in. Unlike other developed countries such as the Western and Eastern Europe, United States and Asia. However the land of Africa presents fear, panic and lower life expectancy compared to the developed nations.

Africa, a land without cold, severe and harsh weather could be a paradise on earth to live in. Unlike other developed countries such as the Western and Eastern Europe, United States and Asia. However the land of Africa presents fear, panic and lower life expectancy compared to the developed nations.

In recent times West Africa has been plunged into an outbreak of a deadly disease, EBOLA. EBOLA has claimed over 7000 lives as of now in some parts of West African countries including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo (Formerly Zaire) and Nigeria. Reports from other media houses have indicated that over 24000 people have been affected by this deadly disease in Liberia.

Ebola was first identified in 1976 in Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo all in Africa. Till date, it is reported that there has not been any cure for this deadly disease. The disease Ebola is caused by Ebola virus and according to medical officers, it has a high mortality rate, between 50-90%. Ebola when infected can kill within 2 weeks. This deadly disease has varying symptoms which include muscle pain and headache, fever, sore throat associated with a reduce functioning of the liver and kidney which consequently leads to bleeding from different openings in the body. In fact it has been reported that the high risk of death is attributed to multiple organ infection syndrome which occurs between seven and fifteen days after contacting Ebola Virus.

The year 2014 has been the worst Ebola outbreak in the world since 1976. It is reported that over 35,000 people have been affected with the Ebola Virus disease in the affected West African countries. It is feared that the virus has the possibility of spreading to other neighboring countries including Ghana, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, etc. Already some countries in West Africa like Nigeria keeps on recording Ebola symptoms. The fear of Ebola in West Africa is due to the fact that there is no medication. In the United States, Ebola Virus disease has attracted great attention because two American citizens got infected with deadly Ebola disease whilst serving as medical missionaries in Liberia. As citizens of America, the government of the United States ensured their evacuation from Ebola torn country, Liberia to America for treatment.

On the 22nd August 2014, Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, the two Ebola infected patients were treated and discharged from a hospital in Atlanta, US. The American Daily news captured the story as “Today is a Miraculous Day. I’m thrilled to be alive: American doctor discharged after being cured of Ebola”. The two were cured from an untested drug ZMapp produced by Mapp Pharmaceutical in the United States.

Till the two Americans were cured from Ebola, most Africans had the thought that Ebola when infected cannot be cured. The Americans had developed this untested drug Ebola ahead of time, stored it for many years. The question to ask is this “Why couldn’t Africa prepare to do something after the first outbreak of Ebola in 1976”.

The Ebola outbreak this year is a wakeup call for African governments, scientist and academicians. The urge is to think ahead and provide solutions for Ebola, not just Ebola but other problems that confronts Africa. The surviving American citizens after infected with Ebola virus disease has led to the conclusion that Ebola is not a killer disease, however ignorance which has engulfed Africa is the main killer. The writer recommends the need for African government, researchers and academiciansto collaborate with the American company, Mapp Pharmaceutical to develop the drug ZMapp for Africa. It is my hope that there will be an end to Ebola in these difficult times and the soon future. Long Live Africa, Long Live Ghana.

Article by Mark Bediako, Research Scientist
CSIR-BRRI, PhD student currently at UMKC- United States,

Email: b23mark@yahoo.com

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