Here are some facts they seem to not know:
- The virus is not airborne like the flu or a cold…it is spread through bodily secretions and can be killed with household bleach.
- The wide-spread contamination comes from areas that have few doctors and little to no resources…in other words, the very poor countries.
- The virus can be easily contained if detected and the proper protocols are implemented.
- Thomas Duncan, the patient who died in Texas told the hospital he had been to Liberia. What many of us do not know is that he was a person of color and had no health insurance. He was sent home with antibiotics where he got sicker and, we now know, did not contaminate his fiancee’s family. He contracted Ebola aiding an infected pregnant woman while in Liberia, who also died.
- There is an 80% survival rate if treated and if the person has a strong immune system…if they are not poor and hungry.
- In the poor countries like Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone doctors are precious. In the chart on below look at the comparison of doctors per 100,000 people. Liberia, 1; Nigeria, 4; and Sierra Leone, 3; Nicaragua, 37; and the United States, 242, Cuba 672.
From CIA World Fact Book
- Cuba currently has 4,000 medical workers in Africa and is planning to send two more brigades to West Africa. (By the way: Cuba has one of the best records of how to deal with infectious diseases worldwide, given their economy...or lack of one. They also have highest rate of doctors per capita in the world!)
- With around $5 million of support from Venezuela, ALBA (the Bolivian Alliance for the Peoples of our Americas) is sending Cuban doctors to train other Latin American doctors. If Ebola comes to poor countries this side of the Atlantic, it will be equally deadly.
This virus is disastrous for the people of West Africa. The poverty, lack of support, poor sanitation and nutrition, and painfully hard lives are just too much...now add this deadly virus...how horrible! Too much time and words have wasted by those countries with the doctors, the resources, and the means to respond.
Pres. Raúl Castro of Cuba asked the ALBA participants to not make this health crisis a political debate, but Nicaraguan Pres. Daniel Ortega could not hold his tongue. Political or not, he is right when he asked where were the developed countries...those countries that are “spending millions on war, and forming alliances for war,” but are dragging their feet on a worldwide response to a potentially devastating pandemic?
The reality is that poor Africans…poor people of color…or just poor people do not matter as much as white, wealthier people. Paul Farmer (Founder of Partners in Health) sums it all up… “The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.”