The spread of the Ebola virus in Liberia started with a single individual from Guinea. Now it takes a global village to contain it. We are constantly reminded of the spread of the Ebola virus from DRC, Sudan, Uganda, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, USA and Spain.
Given my rudimentary knowledge of Ebola virus, we can now categorize Ebola Virus Disease as a pandemic rather than an epidemic. The Ebola pandemic affects us all. The death of one person affected by the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) affects all of us.
In the words made famous by John Donne-1624 Meditation 17 Devotions upon-Ask not for whom the bell tolls-“No man is an island entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent. A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thine own. Or of thine friends were. Each man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”
The message in the above poem is simply the connectivity in this pandemic and how a more concerted and comprehensive effort would be required to tackle the spread of Ebola. You may think you don’t know someone who is affected-or you may feel you’re not affected. You’re wrong. Everyone is affected and should be involved in the fight against Ebola.
It takes a village to dispel rumors, educate its masses, provide supportive but precautionary care, mobilize its young people and provide facilities for the disposal of its deaths. It is only when we get the buy-in of the village that we can begin to turn the curve in the fight against Ebola Virus Disease.
We need a village chief to help oversee the coordination, supervision and implementation of the ever-changing protocols for EVD. We need, according to Mike Rawlings, Dallas Mayor, “to minimize fears and maximize facts. We need to deal with facts not fears.
Notice the use of the word “We”. The battle against EVD is not and would never be the responsibility of one person, government or international organizations. It is the collective responsibility of all. This crisis calls for an approach that would engage the entire population as we begin to come into grips with socio-cultural events. A village model that provides empirical information on knowledge, attitude and practices, including norms and beliefs that affect people and confidence to act would be critical to prevention and control programmes.
We need to be on a trajectory to begin to meet up with the Ebola virus. We also need a sense of community that places emphasis on food security, improved access to water, electricity and roads. The bottom-line is to use all of our collective capabilities to control the spread of EVD and prevent other villagers from infection.
To control and prevent the continuous spread of Ebola, we do not need a field of villages that are disconnected. We need a committed village to connect, have a different attitude and behavior to common up with a common vision before it is too late. According to Richard Quest, of CNN Quest means business, “stopping Ebola outbreak would take Doctors, Drugs and Dollars” before it is too late.
When we are proactive, thoughtful and adaptive, we will emerge from this pandemic and trying times stronger than ever before. As young people, we should be part of the villagers and not take any risk that would put us in harms way. We should be our brothers and sisters keepers. People are having trouble feeding their families and more educational outreach programmes would be needed to engage the Liberian populace.
Until next week, when we come to you with another article on: “Ebola Politics” to control Ebola, Peace First, Peace above all else, May Peace prevail on earth.