If asked the question “Do the lives of Africans matter in fighting Ebola?” I am sure you would expect the answer to be yes, and that everything is being done to save as many sick people as possible. The sad part is that the situation in West Africa is far from this the case. People are dying in front of hospitals and not being admitted due to a lack of space. Doctors are unable to treat patients and can only soothe their pain as the virus ravages their bodies. Mothers and fathers cry over their children dying in the street, with no way and no one to help them. The world can do so much more than what it is doing now.

Ebola is an infectious disease that is generally fatal. It is marked by fever, headaches, sore throats, weakness, a lack of an appetite and severe internal bleeding. Symptoms don’t show for up to three weeks and victims are contagious during this time. It is spread through contact with infected body fluids and has already infected over 8,000 people, killing just under 4,000. However, Ebola isn’t done yet; it still remains to be unchecked and continues to spread into more countries. The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Margaret Chan, called the outbreak “the largest, most complex and most severe we’ve ever seen” and also said that it “is racing ahead of control efforts.” Despite all this, the Center for Disease Control continues to insist that Ebola poses no threat to America. Why? Perhaps it is because they believe that Ebola is unlikely to have any form of a successful outbreak in the U.S.

Ebola is spread through bodily fluids, which can be very easily transmitted in less developed places like West Africa. However, in America, bodily fluid transmission is far less common. Not only that, America has the resources to stomp out any potential outbreak before it has a chance to truly gain momentum. With little fears of the disease affecting the homeland, America is taking a containment approach rather than a treatment approach.

In the United States, there has been three confirmed cases of the Ebola virus. The first was a Texas native, Thomas Duncan, who had recently visited West Africa. His death and the infection of two health workers who treated him was due in part to a lack of proper medical procedure. Despite having a high fever and revealing the fact he just visited West Africa, he was sent home with antibiotics. Nurses at the hospital who were assigned to care for Duncan claimed they did not receive the proper training or personal protective equipment. With this being said, three victims are far short of a pandemic. With slightly improved medical services, the Ebola virus can be easily stopped in the U.S.

West Africa, however, already hosts a huge shortage of medical supplies, facilities and professionals to combat such a large pandemic. Hospitals are at maximum capacity and sick people must wait outside the hospital for hours — sometimes even days — just waiting for another patient to die so they can take their spot. Despite how bad Ebola seems in West Africa, it is fixable. A United Nations spokesperson stated: “They could stop the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in six to nine months, but only if a ‘massive’ global response is implemented.”

Unfortunately for the people of West Africa the massive global response is coming in the form of a U.S military operation. Earlier this month, President Obama signed an executive order to combat Ebola. With the use of the U.S armed forces, Obama doesn’t plan to treat people with the illness and help the sick, but simply quarantine them to stop the spread of disease.  Anyone with “severe acute respiratory syndromes … capable of being transmitted from person to person … may be subjected to quarantine.”

This unsympathetic approach to stopping Ebola may work, but it clearly shows that the U.S simply doesn’t care about the people of west Africa, a sentiment shared by most West Africans. People like the Liberian’s who struggled with years of civil war have a strong distrust for governments. It is a commonly held belief to these West Africans that Ebola was in fact transmitted to the region intentionally by the U.S to depopulate the region to gain access to their nations resources. True or not many people believe it and are acting about it. With riots and violence growing U.S military involvement may only escalate things. It just goes to show that wherever you are in life, you are in a much better place than the forgotten walking dead in West Africa.

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