Guinea Is Still Reeling Under the Grasp of Ebola
The Ebola outbreak was first declared by the Ministry of Health of Guinea on 22 March 2014. Even after the passage of a year, the disease still holds the country under its grasp. The major reason for this alarming situation is that information campaigns have proved to be ineffective at bringing comprehensive changes in the beliefs and behavior of the people.
According to the deputy regional director of Plan International, Damien Queally, a few communities still believe that Ebola is simply a myth and no such thing exists. Therefore, in spite of the intensive efforts to educate people and communities about this disease, there has been very little improvement.
The Scenario in Guinea
The Ebola virus has killed over 2,200 people in Guinea as per the reports by the World Health Organization. In January 2015, it seemed that the number of cases was finally on the fall. However, on 15 March, 2015, the numbers rose to an unprecedented level. 95 new cases were reported over a week, the highest since the year started.
The Choice of Messenger
The choice of the messenger to the people may be a reason why communities have failed to embrace the relief efforts. In many humanitarian efforts, the workers do not understand the importance of the local civil groups and the local NGOs.
When the aid providers start working with the traditional leaders of the region, it becomes easier to promote behavioral changes even in areas that are particularly resistant to change. So far, such efforts have not been implemented in the aid processes in Guinea.
A New Disease
It is not the first time that Ebola has affected Africa. It had already been noticed in 1976 but that was in the eastern and central regions of Africa. The current outbreak is the first time that Ebola has travelled to the western region.
Ebola is a completely new disease in Guinea. Although extensive efforts at education have been done through the media, the people in the country still lack information to counter the disease better. Most people do not even believe that they are facing Ebola.
Even the health workers in Guinea did not have any idea that they were actually witnessing Ebola for the first three months of the outbreak. Once the disease was recognized, there was considerable difficulty in getting the people to understand. It is tough to make people understand Ebola especially when they have never heard it before.
Mistrust of Foreigners
Even though a year has passed, the majority of Guineans do not trust the very people who are trying to protect them from Ebola. There is quite a bit of fear and mistrust. Many believe that Ebola is a tool being used for political manipulation.
Some believe that Ebola is being used by people to get rich quickly. There are others who consider that Ebola was brought into the country by foreigners purposely. Many believe that Ebola affects people of certain ethnicities.
Guinea needs to eliminate many such problems if it hopes to contain and remove Ebola.