6 200 cases of Ebola, over 3000 lives claimed. An estimated 1 billion US Dollars needed over the course of 6 months to incarcerate the epidemic, but the African public remains mum.
Perhaps it is due to the ‘alarmist’ reporting of the rising death toll from media, perhaps it’s from comedic public figures making light of the situation (side eyes to Jim Carrey at the MTV Video Music Awards) but our silence in social media speaks volumes, but is this silence a factor that has translated into public figures and leaders in Africa dragging their feet to help combat the disease?
Looking at the global response so far since the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organization (WHO) release an international appeal for the epidemic, many countries have responded to the urgency with an overwhelming amount of resources. Countries like China offering dispatch mobile labs to assist in lab testing capacities for the Ebola Virus Disease, with 174 volunteers. Ireland funding 600 000 Euros and 42 tones of emergency supplies such as tents, water tanks and blankets, Canada’s and the United States of America’s long term assistance in Ebola affected regions with dispatching militants and social mobilization through health education as a form prevention has immensely assisted, among the frontiers of heroes that have been tackling this epidemic, the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Red Cross and other NGO’s.
However, waves of deafening silence loom the unaffected areas in Africa. In fact, many countries closed borders to those traveling from at-risk Ebola areas as an effort of controlling the disease – ensuring it doesn’t spread, however, only closing borders and zero assistance to the affected areas insinuates hints of isolation and a lack of solidarity.
It goes without saying that the African Union did respond to the epidemic, through establishing the African Union Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA) largely financed by the United States of America, The European Union and China, however only a few countries within the region are directly responding. 30 health workers from Uganda, Rwanda,DRC and Nigeriawere sentto assist in the affected regions, and only a handful number of tycoons and African billionaires pledged what they could.AlikoDangote for example, pledged closed to 1 million US Dollars for preparations provided the virus gets out of hand in his home country, Nigeria.
This is not enough, and there should be something that us cyber frenzy Africans can do to put pressure on governments to assist with what they can do add more facilities and resources to help cure those with the virus. We as Africans cannot keep looking to the west for cures while we close doors protecting ourselves and not assisting the person next to us. We as a cyber people need to introduce means to let African leaders that the pressure is on, we are here to speak for the broken families and those we’ve lost to Ebola. Petitions, awareness campaigns and donations are what we need to turn the mute button off on Ebola. For it is the African proverb that says I am because you are that is the cornerstone of our humanitarian nature – our existence and being.
Rick Patel of avaaz.com has created an online application for people in the medical field (i.e. health workers, nurses, medical doctors) to assist with volunteering in controlling the virus in Sierra Leone. Other areas of labour are still needed, such as lab technicians, logisticians, water and sanitation workers as well as transport workers. If you feel urged to be at the frontline of this crisis follow the link below to apply to be a volunteer: