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City of Banjul
Saturday, September 19, 2020

Ebola and the risk of losing an entire generation

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She said: “Across West Africa, a generation of young people risk being lost to an economic catastrophe as harvests are missed, markets are shut and borders are closed,”. Liberia is the country hit hardest by the virus.

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It’s a harsh reality that our region is faced with such a catastrophe. Thousands have already lost their lives since it was first noticed in Guinea Conakry. The intensity with which it is growing is alarming, with the World Health Organisation predicting the death toll at about 20,000 before it will be fully controlled and contained.

 

With more than 4,500 people already killed by this very deadly virus, there should a commitment on the part of each and every country the world over to help in stemming its tide. Political will is of the utmost importance. Same shared spirit should engender all nations to come together in a harmonious setting, in helping the West African sub region overcome this killer virus. If there is going to be only empty polemics and no positive action on the part of world leaders, then be rest assured that we are going to witness exactly what Madam Sirleaf said about losing an entire generation of young people.

 

There has been much effort on the part of young Gambians to sensitise and raise awareness by reaching out to the hinterlands and spreading messages on Ebola prevention and how to deal with it if there happens to be any suspicious cases. This group, Ebola Free Gambia which comprises young and diverse people is doing a tremendous job both online and in the field and it deserves commendation. The government should complement their efforts by giving them all the support they might need in the process.

 

While the West deals with Ebola, the eastern part of the continent also registered a Marburg virus case. Uganda two weeks ago confirmed that a person was killed by the virus which is in the same category as Ebola as in they are all hemorrhagic fevers. As a result 99 people have already been quarantined. These are unprecedented outbreaks in our times, and it has raised a lot of eyebrows. But while it’s important to know the external causation of many of the continent’s ill, it’s of the essence as of now to just work on the total eradication of these viruses and the restoration of health and safety and stop the speculations which will not help in the least. 

 

It’s also important to know that spreading panic to the detriment of providing clear cut information will do more harm than good and the public should desist from the rumor mongering and await news from the right sources. Spreading false information will hamper the sensitization process greatly. Apart from the false information, the wrong notions held about the virus should be rectified and checked against the backdrop of sound information that have been provided by authorities and scholars in the field.

 

African leaders must gather and work together cohesively and, locally, political and religious leaders should put aside all differences and join the bandwagon in fighting this epidemic. No one is immune as long as these viruses are all around us. Lethargy will only serve to open us to more risks. We should become pro active and sensitise each other. When there is any suspected case, we should hastily report it to the right authorities. There is no iota of doubt that this virus exist, even though there have been doubts in many people that it’s just another western hoax and propaganda. 

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