It is only in these times of distress, disasters and natural calamities that one can evaluate whether or not one is really prepared to face such dangers. People are expected to be prepared for things that had happened and are likely to happen again, things that are happening and in full swing and things to happen. Being an African myself, I am very much disappointed to learn in the past few months that my beloved continent is rather weak at preparations (especially against Ebola). Ebola hasn’t just popped-up from nowhere; it is not a new infection that is on its first mission of destruction. Although this is the biggest and worst outbreak to ever befall Africa, the infection was first discovered in the 1970s.
To me, this should have been enough time for people around the world to take swift, safety measures, with the help of medical experts and world leaders, knowing how contagious Ebola is. Scientists or medical experts should not have waited until this disastrous infection claimed so many lives to announce the testing of its vaccines. When shall we see their benefits? After all, Ebola is expected to treble its infections to 20,000 in November if the fight against it is not intensified or proper measures are not put in place.
In Africa, we suffer the consequences of our own actions. I still find it so unbelievable that there are certain people who don’t still believe Ebola exists. We should seriously ask ourselves whether these people have been properly communicated to, or they just don’t want to listen. Given the terror and fear this infection has plunged so many people around the world into, I will most likely choose communication problem as a factor. And this brings us back to our main subject, lack of preparedness.
One of the most important means of tackling a crisis is to have proper communication between the parties involved, without which, solutions will seem a long shot.
Despite the efforts being seemingly made to tackle Ebola, the levels of infections are still sky-rocketing. It makes me think that vaccines at hand would have been useful here. Smallpox may be long gone; I would rather keep any of its reaming vaccines if I had any, just in case. Let’s be ever prepared! Anything can happen anytime.
Inefficiency and decay at work places?
I was shocked at the poor management I perceived of certain government institutions during a recent visit to the capital Banjul. These are places for the public and are expected to look tidy and organised for the visitors.
I couldn’t believe how untidy and unhealthy some places are. Unhealthy due to congestion and poor air conditioning system. I could hardly breathe in and out, was practically searching for oxygen until I finally found my way out. There’s this particular office that has scrap all over which makes people’s movement almost impossible. And the sofas at what looks like a reception are worn out with horrible odour. At some point, I could not even differentiate between the employees and the visitors. Everything was just jumbled up and there seemed to be no order in place. I asked myself this question, are these employees paid from the taxpayers money?
Worst of all, you will go to office A to settle a transaction only to be told that your issue has not reached there yet. And to my dismay, office B will prove that your issue has been sent almost a week ago to office A. This is madness. What are they really doing behind their desks?
As a concerned Gambian, I think is high time the authorities embarked on a thorough inspection of the role, duties and responsibilities of every public servant. And each institution should be able to produce a report of each employee at the end of every month. This, I believe, will ensure the proper use of funds meant for the public and other developmental projects.
However, I’m impressed with some other government institutions that have most of what it takes to be referred to as a public institution. They are organised and one could visibly see progress at work. With settings like that, we will have a better Gambia.