Believing everything you hear on the News is highly problematic, Jasmine Mack ’16

After recently attending the Ebola panel I learned so much truth and how the media in America is causing a great scare throughout the country. Right away into the panel we are properly informed by Bill Johnston about what exactly Ebola is and the history why Sierra Leone’s health infrastructure is low. The Ebola virus is a virus that injects RNA into the humans. There are 5 different subtypes of Ebola and Ebola –Zaire is the most dangerous. Ebola-Zaire has been around since 1977 and is the sub-type that is affecting Sierra Leone currently. This strand affects the immune system and vascular system, and as it increases in stages it basically breaks the body down. The Ebola-Zaire is not affecting the entire country of Liberia; it’s mostly in the regions near and in Sierra Leone.

After Professor Laura Twagira’s section on Media, we come to this conclusion that the “media” doesn’t help see the range of potential solutions. The media has made Africa, which is a continent of countries like America, seem like this scary place of wars, diseases, underdevelopment, and lacks in civilization which perpetuate bad stereotypes. Respected news journals like New York Times have also presented Africa in negative and exaggerated views. The main reason Sierra Leone’s health infrastructure is low is due to the civil wars in the past, however they have qualified staff, nurses, and doctors is just because the healthcare system here is low there isn’t enough staff here to help. Basically the nurses in this region are mostly women who are working 24/7 with patients who are sick and there can be instances of accidents because they are understaffed. Although Sierra Leones health infrastructure is low, it does not mean all of Africa or West Africa for that matter is inadequate. For example, student Amarachi Asoyne who recently this summer interned in Nigeria for the study of the healthcare system saw the immediate response of the strong infrastructure of the Nigerian healthcare system in preparations for the Ebola-Zaire outbreak. Senegal is also another strong health infrastructure in West Africa whose work goes unnoticed in the media. The media is sending mixed messages about this epidemic that is causing fear that does not help the problem get resolved.

The International response to aid this crisis first was the Africa Bank, Canada, and even Germany as well as other countries. The World Health Organization should be the leader in this crisis, but they are not doing enough. They don’t have enough professional doctors, the budget has been slashed, they are short staffed already because of MERS, and they don’t have the resources to help anyone currently. The U.S response happened once American citizens were affected, except they plan to send 4,000 soldiers to help with a virus? The CDC and several other news media are reporting the worst possible outcomes and estimating possible deaths. There have been actually about 7,000 total deaths within the several years since Ebola-Zaire has existed, not 1.4 million that has been reported in News. This virus can only be transmitted via contact with bodily fluids. This virus is not airborne which has been also reported in several news media. There are no zombies and Ebola-Zaire has not killed millions like the Influenza that is highly prevalent in the U.S. Days after this panel I learned Thomas Eric Duncan died in the Unites States October 8, 2014 even with a strong healthcare structure, yet other Americans were quickly treated, taken to the best hospitals that were prepped for this virus, and cured of this pandemic with a vaccine. I’m slightly appalled by how the media and the government are handling this epidemic versus other countries.