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18.10.2014 Opinion

Why Blame The West? Sub-Saharan Leaders Must Invest In Advance Scientific Research To Define The Ebola Virus

By Kwasi Amankwa Kristosom
Why Blame The West? Sub-Saharan Leaders Must Invest In Advance Scientific Research To Define The Ebola Virus
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The general public is obviously in the hunt for answers to the deadly Ebola virus. Almost everyone I know is keenly interested in a comprehensive explanation regarding the genuine origin of the Ebola epidemic. Global leaders have so far struggled to come up with definitive responses to the crises. Their lack of cohesive responses has created a huge vacuum, allowing the media outlets to steal the show, incite fears, and boost television network ratings.

West African leaders must focus on conducting a deeper dive and comprehensive research with regard to the origin of the virus, the actual root causes, possible effective solutions, and action plan to help mitigate the rapid spread of this deadly disease to ensure it never happen again.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and media outlets have recently been inundated with the word “bush meat”. It appears that every deadly disease, from AIDS to tuberculosis to Ebola has emanated from Africa and transmitted to humans through the consumption of “bush meat”.

Many scholars have refuted such myopic conclusion, but so far nothing has been done to counter such declaration. Sub-saharan leaders continue to devote very little to no resources when it comes to conducting scientific research on bush meat-related diseases.

What breaks my heart the most is that leaders often retrieve to their dungeons whenever the going gets tough, allowing their Western counterparts to take charge. Chinua Achebe once said: “If you don't tell your own story, someone else will step in and do it for you.”

Let's encourage African leaders to emerge from their cubbyholes and take charge during crises. Even as countries begin recuperating, citizens must continue to encourage scientific researches in order to help define the origin of the crises. Again, let's write our story now or forever hold our peace if someone else is doing it for us.

The sad truth is that no one knows the actual root cause of the Ebola virus. Due to lack commitment to transparent investigation and advance scientific researches, people have simply lost trust in their leaders. As a result, the global community has gradually gravitated towards partisan media outlets for their daily information.

Web pages have been flooded with absurd and misleading information. Many are pointing fingers at Bill Gate and George Soros foundations for deliberately inventing the virus to cause global panic. Others have written extensive articles suggesting the virus was intentionally manufactured and patented by the West and the United Nations to aid the ailing U.S. pharmaceutical industry.

A recent article by Zaya Yeebo insinuated that the West generated the virus to stage a re-colonization in order to curb the Chinese aggression. The author of BBC's October 16, 2014, article entitled: “Ebola basics: What you need to know” maintained that the virus, which is thought to have originated in fruit bats, was first detected in 1976 in an outbreak near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Evidently, the global community seems clueless about the root cause of the Ebola virus. Until sub-saharan African leaders start prioritizing and dedicating resources to education and advanced scientific researches, the root causes of these deadly viruses will remain a mystery.

To set the record straight, I am not a subject matter expect on the Ebola virus and in no position to prescribe remedy to curb the ongoing episodes. However, it is imperative that people understand why the United States is sending troops and not medical professionals. It is equally important to understand why the Cuban Government is doing the opposite.

According to the United States' constitution, the President is the commander in chief of the armed forces and is allowed to mobilize and send troops into harm's way, if he feels his country national security and economic interests are at stake. The U.S. President, on the other hand, cannot order ordinary private citizens into harm's way, unless the U.S. Congress institutes the draft to summon certain age group to compulsory serve the nation during an emergency. Why the U.S. President cannot order civilian medical professionals to serve? The answer is simple: because the Government is not responsible for civilian tertiary education and payment of tuition fees particularly, while in medical schools.

The Cuban Government on the other hand sponsors its citizens through secondary and tertiary education. Once the student concludes, he or she is obligated to serve the state when called upon. The Cuban constitution gives the Cuban Government unprecedented control over its citizens (civilian and military). The constitution provides the Cuban Government the flexibility to send Cuban medical professional around the world as needed. This flexibility has also enabled the Cuban Government to provide rapid respond by sending civilian medical professionals to theses Ebola-stricken countries instead of military personnel.

Comrades, let's encourage the general public to accept or tolerate as many expertise as possible (civilian or military) provided these experts are eager to help reduce the rapid spread of this deadly disease. In the longer term, leaders must formulate strategic solutions that puts education and scientific research at the forefront to ensure pandemic of this magnitude never happen in future.

Kwasi Amankwa Kristosom
Falls Church, VA
[email protected]

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