Ebola – Why is it a problem in West Africa?

If Ebola is rare why is it a problem in West Africa?  It can all be boiled down to one word – LACK.

LACK of understanding:  People do not understand how Ebola is transmitted.  Some believe that just saying the word aloud will make the disease appear while others blame physicians for the spread of the virus.  They have hidden family members rather than sending them to facilities to avoid quarantine.

LACK of medical supplies:  Medical supplies, such as gloves and needles are reused.  If not properly disinfected,

Reuse of medical supplies contributes to the spread of Ebola.

Reuse of medical supplies contributes to the spread of Ebola.

Ebola can be transferred  to a patient who was not previously infected.

LACK of health care workers:  In this area of the world there is approximately 1 doctor for every 10,000 people.    Health care workers from other countries, dressed in hazmat suits, are often not trusted and end up going home.

LACK of proper burial techniques:  Traditional funeral practices include washing the body by hand and touching the body at the funeral.     Both the body and objects which could have been contaminated should be cleaned and disinfected.  However, burial teams have literally been chased out of town when attempting to implement these practices.

Perhaps one day, when the above obstacles are overcome, the word LACK will be used to indicate the presence of Ebola in the world.

Submitted by JoHanna D’Epiro, P.A.

Edited by Tina Comston, M.Ed.

Reviewed by Gladys Gibbs, M.D.