By Bernard Wainaina
I am going to start by saying that Africa is not a diseased place as a cross- section of the western media have reported,but may be,our public medi-care systems are.
The truth is that we have this outbreak here so let’s see how to deal with it without sucking in the racist jingoism.
Hey, we are also not eating chimpanzees everywhere and all the time..
With that said, I want to remind African governments to put their health systems in order.
I watched a news clip of striking Kenyan doctors as patients were left to die since the county governments had not paid them their salaries.
Though there is no confirmed Ebola case in Kenya, the struggling public healthcare system which is mirrored across other African
countries makes me wonder what would happen if Ebola struck.
Tanzania is another country with rudimentary healthcare and access to it is another story altogether.
Uganda also falls in this category with the rich flying to Kenyan private hospitals for treatment.
Hazard for medics
In Sierra Leone where Ebola has hit hard, medics are on strike and a key testing laboratory has since been shut down with
nurses and doctors complaining of lack of enough personal protective clothing such as heavy bio-hazard suits and after witnessing the death of their colleagues.
They have a right to take this action, methinks.
Look here, the disease strikes, and if you do not give the medical fraternity enough support, what do you expect them to do?
We could have thought of coming up with measures of how to prevent further infections among these health practitioners who are battling the disease.
So far 120 health workers have died while fighting the disease in West Africa, according to
We have several centres in Africa like Tanzania’s Ifakara Health Institute and Kenya’s Medical Research Institute with
qualified personnel to carry out research but we still have to rely on researchers from abroad when we are hit with such lethal tropical viruses.
Even the treatment facilities we have in our countries are not sufficient.
Once healthcare is denied priority by the governments then all the citizenry can do is to despair while those who are rich enough can fly out to overseas countries to save their lives.
That is why citizens who depend on government to provide quality healthcare need to push the leaders they elect to do more about their health.
Start by investing more in healthcare.
Pay our nurses and doctors.
Provide superior working equipment and stock our hospitals with medicine.
Boost our research centres to enable them come up with relevant solutions.
With more hospitals closing as patients including healthcare givers continue to die
from the virus, the efforts to combat Ebola will be hindered.
Let’s borrow a few lessons from Uganda on how they managed to fight the deadly virus the last time it struck.
To African leaders: the moment we better our healthcare systems, we will not be categorised as a diseased continent anymore since medicare will be good and affordable.
We won’t have to be airlifted overseas for treatment and our researchers will be
in a better position to come up with enviable solutions to help us effectively combat such outbreaks in future.
“The African Story as told by Africans”.©African News Digest®