I was listening to BBC World Service last week, to an eloquent Liberian analyst discussing the Liberian government’s request for aid to assist in combating the Ebola outbreak. He pointed out that the money requested was for medical supplies, including bleach, gloves etc.

It pulled me up short. Of course, African governments need support in combating the Ebola threat. But part of the reason health crises can escalate is because the medical system is already in disarray. The expert mentioned how people are reluctant to go to the doctor except in dire circumstances, and the fact that Ebola’s early symptoms are indistinguishable from other diseases mean that a diagnosis is slow coming.

There’s so much to this. So often people don’t go to the doctors because it is expensive; so you only go if you must. It may be expensive to get there, or far away from where you live. It may be that you could make the journey and there’s no medicine anyway. If this is the normal state of affairs, then what of when a crisis hits?

African governments and Ebola

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