AASU On The Outbreak Of The Ebola Disease In West Africa
The outbreak of the Ebola virus and its spread from its epicenter in the forests of southern Guinea to other West African countries is a great concern to the International Community particularly to the governments and people of the sub-region. Ebola leads to hemorrhagic fever causing muscle pain, weakness, vomiting, diarrhoea and, in severe cases, organ failure and persistent bleeding.
Ebola, an infection with high fatality rate, is a severe disease without any vaccine, cure or specific treatment for it currently. But it can be controlled. The chances of survival increase if patients are kept hydrated and treated for secondary infections.
The virus can be transmitted to humans who handle sick or dead wild animals – believed to be its original source – and between humans through direct contact with another's blood, faeces or sweat. Sexual contact, or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses, can also lead to infection.
It's extremely important to get out as much accurate information as possible to communities and the countries affected, to reduce the rumours and enable the people to appreciate the fatal consequences of the disease so that they can take the correct decisions.
So far according to the World Health Organization (WHO) figures released last Tuesday, there have been 157 suspected cases in Guinea, 101 of them fatal. Of those, 67 have been confirmed as Ebola victims by laboratory tests. In Liberia, there have been 21 cases, including 10 fatalities, of which five have been confirmed as Ebola. There have also been two suspected cases in Sierra Leone, affecting people believed to have been infected in southern Guinea but who died over the border. In Mali, there have been nine suspected cases, with tests so far showing two of them did not have the virus.
It is obvious that mass education of the people on the disease is the best way to help the victims and thwart its spread. Therefore concerted and collective efforts at local, national and sub-regional levels are paramount in the fight against this deadly disease. Though AASU appreciates the measures taken, so far, by the different West African countries, we urge the governments to work more closely within the framework of ECOWAS in order to face adequately the challenges posed by this disease.
AASU calls on the youth particularly the students to mobilize and organize themselves through their various Associations or Organizations in order to direct their dynamism, energies and knowledge towards the mass education of their people on this disease to enable them to acquire the right information and to prevent it.
Together let's stop this disease!
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