"The moment we [Africans] lost our languages was also the moment we lost our bodies, our gold, diamonds, copper, coffee, tea." - Ngugi wa Thiong'o

The politics of Ebola

Last week a certain man went to the hospital to check his blood pressure. He was running a high temperature and was immediately isolated from the public. He instantly became an Ebola suspect and so must be tested for the virus. In keeping to safety measures, the hospital personnel put on their protective garments before taking the man’s blood sample for the test.

A doctor later came back and informed him: I have bad news for you. The man nearly collapsed before the doctor added; you have good news in the bad news. You have malaria parasite in your system. However, you don’t have Ebola virus but you are HIV positive. The man responded; Thank God: it’s not Ebola.

This is the state we found ourselves in Africa, a situation where HIV is preferable to Ebola. By the way; who wouldn't choose HIV over Ebola? Ebola is deadly and there’s no known cure for the disease according to World Health Organisation (WHO). Once anybody is infected that person is on his own – waiting for death while being quarantined, as it is the case in Liberia and others.

In death, Ebola robs its victim of family reunion. The body becomes a health hazard; no family member will be around or allowed to pay his/her last respect to the dead. The deceased is buried by health officials. And in Africa where a befitting funeral means slaughtering of cows, eating and dancing, Ebola has equally robbed its victim of a befitting burial.

According to WHO, more than 8,000 people have been infected with the virus, mostly in West Africa, and about 4,000 deaths have so far been recorded. Then how did the other 4,000 people get healed if there’s no cure for Ebola? Is there something they know that we don’t know? Whatever method used in curing the survivors should be circulated to the people who live in the rural areas of Liberia, Sierra Leone and so on. It is not enough to tell them about prevention they should also be told how one can survive the virus when contracted.

Besides, most people of the affected countries didn’t even believe in this Ebola phenomenon. Liberians initially believed that Ebola was propaganda by their government to raise much needed aid to bail their sinking economy. But when body bags began heaping up; they started suspecting the western world of waging a biological warfare against Africa to enable their ‘medicine men’ sell their drugs. Without propaganda of this magnitude who would buy their drugs; they queried.

Well, a Canadian pharmaceutical firm has produced a vaccine for Ebola virus and has started clinical trials in humans. The first recorded Ebola case occurred in then Zaire, which is now known as Congo (DRC) in 1976 http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/ and the current outbreak started in December 2013. Is it a coincidence that this firm’s vaccine for Ebola came out during the time of its worst epidemic?

Now, the pertinent question is, when did this firm start their research on Ebola to have developed a vaccine? Perhaps they listened to J.F Kennedy when he said; “when written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters; one represents danger the other opportunity.” Whichever way it is looked at; this company stands to earn a lot of money when people in Africa and their visitors are inoculated with this vaccine.

Ebola is no longer an African issue. It has now spread to Europe and America. The American’s case is very interesting. A nurse wearing full protective garments contracted the virus from the patient she was caring for. And the authorities cannot explain how that could have happened when no such incident has been reported amongst the scores of health officials battling Ebola in West Africa. No wonder Americans are seeking help from Nigeria to fight Ebola.

America!!! Nigeria is a country that works when the situation is unfavourable to the BigMan. Ebola is unlike Boko Haram that they know where they are, who they are and how they operate but fail to eradicate them since the killings and deaths do not come near them. The BigMen guard themselves with Police and the military against Boko Haram unlike Ebola that will likely inflict them through those security people that protect them. For instance, Liberia’s minister of transport has gone into quarantine due to the death of her driver from Ebola. Therefore the BigMen of Nigeria fought Ebola for their sake and nobody else.

Finally, since WHO said there’s no cure for Ebola even though some people are surviving the virus, let us hope that the clinical trials of the vaccine will succeed. In the meantime, let the Lord be our refuge so that we will not fear “the pestilence that stalks in the darkness; nor the plague that destroys at midday”. – Psalm 91:6