Africa Trade Magazine

From the Associated Press (AP): “Ebola is over, but could it happen again?”

(Yes. You know it will happen again.)

AP: This week the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the world’s worst epidemic of Ebola is over – after two years. AP reports 11,315 people died - 4,809 in Liberia, Sierra Leone recorded 3,955 deaths and at least 2,536 people perished in Guinea. Nigeria recorded 8 deaths and 6 died in Mali. Others died in Europe and in the United States after being infected while in West Africa and some caregivers became sick. More than 17,000 people survived the disease. Many have vision, hearing and other physical problems. Many women suffered miscarriages or delivered stillborn children for reasons that are still not clear.

(The reasons will never be clear. While the WTO engaged in self flagellation at the height of the crisis, several Africa leaders were caught napping at the buffet table – yet again. Some chose to lash out at the donor community to accuse it of not doing its part while they sat in a fetid soup of corruption and graft. Sound familiar Liberia? Anyone track down that 50 mil or so than the Brits and others sent your way a while back to improve health care? Hello?)

AP: The WHO talks of "failure to see that conditions for explosive spread were present right at the start”, incompetent staff, bureaucratic bungles and delays, budget cuts and the “need to battle other diseases flaring around the world.”

(Fair enough, but when most of those you would seek to help have been left to fend for themselves, if not simply left for dead, by their “leaders”, you’re looking at things from the wrong end of the telescope.)

AP: Health experts also say they underestimated how difficult it would be to change behaviours. People were afraid to send their relatives to treatment centres. Many hid the sick out of ignorance and fear. Some clinics and caregivers were attacked. Many of those who were infected defied quarantines and traditional burial practices allowed the disease to spread.

(Yup. Crazed Hollywood stars and religious nut-jobs attack people who try to administer vaccines too. No excuse for the Hollywood types, the nut-jobs are often beyond rescue, but average folks just need a helping hand. In Africa, most of them feed the hands that bite them: the “canapé class.”)

AP: The WHO says another epidemic is possible. At least 10 flare-ups have occurred in areas thought to be clear of Ebola. Early warning systems are in place, along with stockpiles of protective gear. People living in these countries also know what steps they can take immediately to avoid getting sick after lengthy public awareness campaigns.

(Someone will come along to steal the protective gear and the canapé class will simply go back to sleep while waiting for Netflix. Ladies and germs, meet the new boss - same as the old boss.)

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