Ninety percent of Liberians, from all indications don’t believe Ebola is real, and they believe if it exists, no number of preventive measures can save them. Instead, they believe it is only God who can save them from any calamity.
But this is not the first time the issue of denial has been addressed through this medium. From the onset, it was the government that handled the epidemic unconscientiously, thus leading to its widespread. The government was not punctual in putting preventive measures into place, and if it did, the measures were mystifying and indeterminate.
This was how the denial started, the people, already inundated by half literacy and illiteracy began to make fun of the whole Ebola thing. But as government bounced back with the help of the international community, the people were divided in their perception about Ebola—with 5o-50 equation of the population.
But all that changed in no time after government announced more preventive measures and the declaration of a holiday as Ebola day on August 1. The day, August 1, according to government, was set aside so that a massive cleanup against Ebola can take effect in public, private places and homes.
Reports gathered from around the country are not favorable. There are reports of anti Ebola awareness activities from some parts of Liberia during the holiday weekend. And in Monrovia, residents of communities that Ebola Task Force and Awareness and Sanitization Team visited locked their homes and left in defiance and dissent to Ebola’s preventive measures.
In Monrovia, the Ebola holiday was a hilarity and mockery of Ebola outbreak; in other words, the day was not considered serious. Night clubs were packed and Ebola’s preventive measures ignored.
The denial as stated earlier, greeted the epidemic as the people accused the government of conspiracy to embezzle more money from government’s coffer. The denial continues and is derived from various bases apart from those earlier discussed herein.
One of the bases on which the people are in denial is the death versus the overstatement of the urgency of the Ebola virus. According to the people, the death toll outweighs the overstatement of the urgency of the Ebola virus.
Another reason, the people are in denial is the stigma attached to the virus and on its victims and government’s failure to properly educate its citizens on the issue of stigmatizing Ebola victims and their relatives. According to the people, the Liberian Government was the one that indirectly directly attached stigma to the virus by declaring entire family or any relative to the victim unsafe, no matter whether the relatives or family members are and were in different localities before the victim was infected.
In addition, the people are saying that government medical practitioners, because of fear to contract the Ebola virus, are in the habit of rejecting and abandoning the sick that are taken to the hospitals of clinics for treatment. The people also are saying that, medial practitioners would admit a sick person then inject him or her and label their sickness Ebola nevertheless, or would reject the sick person who then dies as a result of lack of medical attention.
Furthermore, the people are saying that people no longer die from other diseases except Ebola—this, in their understanding is due to government’s medial practitioners’ inability to conduct diagnostics, rather they would diagnose every illness Ebola.
The other reason, which of recent and added to the people’s denial and suspicion is the ongoing water poisoning spree by some individuals in Monrovia and other places in Liberia. That will be a separate discussion in our next piece.
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