Monday, August 11, 2014

Ebola chases, we run

We are at risk. Every single one of us.

This risk even if it couldn't have been avoided, could have been prevented. This risk is the deadly Ebola virus that was imported by Late Liberian, Patrick Sawyer. A man that something in me strongly says came to this country with the sole intent of spreading the deadly virus. Why do I believe so? Well, let me explain.

Just last week, the Liberian government sent their apologies to Nigeria for their citizen who imported the virus to us. They also made known to us that Mr. Sawyer knew that he had the virus and so, avoided contact with people at the Liberian airport. Okay, let me analyse this in my own way before I proceed.

Why did he avoid contact with his people but got to Nigeria and started acting up and spreading his fluid everywhere in the hospital? First, even though he knew he had the Ebola virus, he refused he diagnosis when told by the young doctor and nurse that conducted the test. Why? If this were someone who had the interest of other human beings at heart, wouldn't he have announced from the moment he stepped foot in this country and was overcome with sickness that he had Ebola virus and should be isolated? He is a highly educated man, so I wouldn't chalk this down to ignorance;I say this was a premeditated action.

Secondly, one of the young nurses who attended to him is quoted as saying on Facebook that Mr. Sawyer at some point, pulled out the needle from his arms spilling blood everywhere. Pray tell me, who does something like that without an ulterior motive?

Let me get back to how this could have been avoided.

The spread of this virus in many parts of Africa had been in the news for a while now. There has been recorded deaths and I believe that if Nigeria had started taking precautions, raising massive awareness about the disease and being extra careful to screen everyone at the airports and the border; we may have been able to detect this and obliterated it before it became of a national concern. We simply believed it was 'their' issue and would not come to us. So much so that when it did come, it came like a thief in the night. Today, some are infected and those that are not, are scared shitless.

The Ebola scare in Nigeria and Lagos especially is next to none.Who would blame anyone? Mr. Sawyer came into Nigeria aboard a flight in the first class section. How many from other infected African countries have come in through our very porous borders undetected? Ask yourself this question.

We all treat each other as if we already had the disease, and for good reason. A lot of people are also cashing in on this unfortunate predicament to increase sale of some products.Hand sanitisers now sell for way more than usual in Lagos and maybe some other cities. Someone somewhere came up with a myth on how salted water ingested and used for bathing would work to keep the Ebola virus away. Text messages and BBM messages were flying left, right and center to every phone announcing this rumour. What did we do as original Nigerians? Some of us dove head first into salted water and made drinking it our daily mission. Some of us drank it to the point that they got sick and hospitalized.

Before this salted water rumour, one of bitter kola doing some magic also made the rounds. And as usual, we lapped it up and swept away all the bitter kolas in Lagos and I hear in Abuja too.

All these I attribute to ignorance. Many people don't even know what Ebola virus is and how it can be contracted. Some people finish their salt water therapy and go about shaking hands with everyone they meet the entire day without as much as washing their hands.

I particularly saw a man who was vigorously picking his nose as he waded through a sweaty crowd. In that crowd, he saw a man I perceived was a good friend of his and gave him a huge hug and then a very warm handshake. With the same fingers he bulldozed his nose with. "Ewwww... " was all I could mutter to myself.

People need to know the precautionary measures to take, especially the uneducated ones.

Its scary how fast this virus is spreading and when you add America's refusal to at the moment, release trial drug ZMapp to us; it is a massive medical emergency.

While we trust God and pray fervently that none among us get this deadly virus, we MUST take every necessary precaution. Say no to handshakes. Say no to getting close to anyone visibly ill. And avoid like a plague, body fluids from everyone. Prevention they say is better than a cure.

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