Throughout the past few months, the world has been set ablaze with talk of the Ebola virus, with some even going so far as to characterize it as the “next Black Death”. Now although this virus may have not reached Pandemic proportions just yet, the reason why this virus has been, and is being left unattended to, with inadequate numbers of doctors and personnel with unsuited equipment desperately trying to contain the disease in it’s homeland of West Africa, is because the attention that the world should be giving to this disease, is nowhere to be seen.
When I stumbled across an article on the Ebola outbreak written by John Sutter, complete with a whole album of pictures, titled, “Where’s the empathy for Ebola’s African victims?”, a chord of agreement and truth was struck inside my brain. Statistics and recent events show just how appallingly minuscule the international community’s “response” to this calamity is, and overall, just how morally decayed we have become.
However my ranting isn’t going to show anything. Let’s just take a minute to appreciate some pure facts and stats.
When we look at the timeline of the recent outbreak, the world only sparked up and started it’s “responses” to the threat after small cases of Ebola showed up in America and Europe.
The United Nations has asked for one billion dollars to fight the spread of the Ebola outbreak. This may seem like a lot, but if you compare that to the US’s approx. 668 billion dollar budget on military spending as of 2011, it isn’t much. However as of last Friday, it has collected only a mere hundred thousand dollars. My parents could do better than that.
Disturbingly and interestingly (in a twisted sense), “researchers found that white participants, black participants, and nurses and nursing students assumed that blacks felt less pain than whites.” according to researchers at the University of Milano-Bicocca.
Now these statistics are just the tip of the iceberg. Just ask any health worker fighting the epidemic at West Africa right now, and he or she will tell you that their facilities are too underfunded, under equipped, and undermanned to effectively fight the disease. When recent observations have revealed that over 40,000 body bags are needed in Ebola stricken areas in Africa, we can see that our battle in West Africa against this epidemic is one that we’re losing.
Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General expressed his concern in an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest, and one of his most lasting quotes read: “Ebola must be halted in Africa”. Now this may seem obvious to some, but the thing is, when politicians in New Jersey and China are justifying their apathy towards the outbreak by proclaiming that “The safety of our own people always comes first.”, they are in fact endangering their own people by not helping to make sure that Ebola stays in West Africa, and is treated off in West Africa.
As a globalized world, to properly tackle problems, especially when our ability to connect and reach others in other continents on an hourly basis can actually endanger us, we need to sit down and realize that quick and easy transportation applies to anything and everything, good or deadly.