Wed, 06 Aug 2014 Feature Article

Does Ebola discriminate on the basis of race?

Does Ebola discriminate on the basis of race?
06 AUG 2014 LISTEN

Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Folks, I will ask a simple question: Why are the United States victims of Ebola still alive but not the African victims?

I have a few concerns about this Ebola epidemic that has put West Africa under the spotlight for the wrong reason. The first case in this barrage of Ebola attacks was reported to have occurred in Guinea and quickly spread to neighbouring countries (Sierra Leone and Liberia). Like a wild brushfire, Ebola reportedly spread to other areas (Nigeria (where the victim died) and caused a scare in Ghana (where a United States citizen was said to have died at the Nyaho Clinic in Accra).

Since then, Ebola as a health disaster has become synonymous with West Africa, ringing alarm bells in far-away countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States. The health authorities in the UK are confident that their system can counteract Ebola. So does the United States too, even when a suspected case was reported from the Sinai hospital in New York only to be quickly declared as manageable and not alarming.

What is it about Ebola that makes the white man resistant to it and the African vulnerable?

But the real issues concerning Ebola lie beneath all these claims. The rapid rate of devastation of victims in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia has alarmed the world, prompting the World Health Organization to launch an appeal for 200 million dollars to combat it (or, at least, to do something to prove that it is part of the solution).

As a precautionary measure, flights from Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia (regarded as the epicenter of the Ebola virus) are either banned by countries wary of the Ebola threat or passengers from those countries are being heavily screened or subjected to measures verging on quarantine. Every country seems to be sitting on a knife-edge. Ebola is scary because of the fast rate at which it kills its victims. No known cure exists for it and one who is infected has a narrow window of just two days to succumb.

Out of it all is the case of two Ebola victims who are citizens of the United States Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol). Dr. Brantly was flown to the US and is being taken care of. Dr. Writebol is also being flown to the US to be taken care of. They have beaten the 2 day ultimatum that the West African victims of Ebola couldn't. Why?

Their case is particularly interesting because of what happened. They were given the ZMapp medication, which is praised as helping them have their conditions significantly improved. They survived many days and many hours of being transported to the US. Not so for the poor Guineans, Sierra Leoneans and Liberians infected with the Ebola virus.

ZMapp was developed by the biotech firm Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., based in San Diego in the United States.

And a Ghanaian virologist (Dr. Kwamena Sagoe, who is the Head of Virology Department at the University of Ghana) has expressed confidence that the experimental drug, ZMapp would be a potential cure for the deadly Ebola virus. “I am confident that it could be a cure,” he said. (See:

The question is: Why were the Guinean, Sierra Leonean, and Liberian Ebola victims not given this Zmapp drug, even if it was to be at the precautionary or experimental stage?

This circumstances or narrative on this Ebola epidemic isn't any different from what we had heard long ago about the HIV/AIDS pandemic that portrayed Africans as the source/cause, even when later narratives would place the blame squarely at the doorsteps of a failed scientific experiment by those in the US. Or their counterparts in South Africa using Black African males as specimens for their deadly scientific experiments to decimate the Black African man and his manhood!!

Folks, I suppose that the talk of the precautionary drug, ZMapp, will take us beyond where we are now and that later developments will confirm fears that some kind of hidden agenda is at play.

Isn't it surprising that the disease has a name, given it by those who know what it is, but no cure for the African victims? I am waiting to see how the two US victims fare!! If they survive, hopes may be raised that ZMapp would be the antidote to the Ebola virus, but by then, a lot of lives would have been lost.

What this experimentation means is beyond my comprehension. But Ebola may turn out to be someone's attempt at toying with human life on the altar of advanced medical technology. And someone will definitely catch the eyes of the Nobel Peace administrators for an award in consequence. Pathetic!!

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