Ebola and Sanitation

first_imgLast week, Liberians were poised at the bus park, awaiting the announcement of an Ebola free nation on May 9.  This is great news for the small West African Nation that found herself increasingly isolated by July through December of 2014.  Liberia was one of the epicenters in the West African sub region that was badly hit by the deadly epidemic. According to the statistics of previously affected countries by the Centers for Disease Control, Liberia recorded the highest death toll of 4716 out of 10564[1]  total cases of suspected, probable and laboratory confirmed cases. Faced with economic, socio- cultural and health- induced sanctions, nearly all International flights were suspended, with a drastic decline in trade, lowering investment, widespread economic speculation, thus bringing an entire nation to a monumental stop.The pace of a nation gradually recovering from a devastating 14-year civil war was stopped at an abrupt and uncertain end. Gloom hovered over Monrovia. The panic that characterized the civil war became more apparent-fleeing internationals, lowering economic activities, mass movement of people, fear, pandemonium, humiliating interaction with outsiders, unfavorable international news coverage, etc. Liberia was nearing point zero. A mid-term election for the Senate was postponed from October to November, sending a message that the health of a nation was more paramount than meeting a constitutional deadline. The hysteria began when Liberian government consultant Patrick Sawyer, died in Nigeria of Ebola. The news went viral; sending chills across Africa that Liberians were carriers of the Ebola virus, like fruit bats — the apparent natural habitat of the virus. Barely months after, the World was shocked when Thomas Eric Duncan was diagnosed of Ebola on the shores of the United States of America. Duncan, showed no signs of the virus, passed through International health protocols, and travelled to America. International media zoomed in on Liberia and the circus began.  Fear was alive. Long standing deeply entrenched stereotypes of Africans resurfaced.  A world wide campaign by Africans went viral: ‘I am an African and not a Virus’, ‘I’m a Liberian, not a virus’. Celebrated Beninoise Singer and Musician Angelique Kidjo narrated her ordeal in a moving article in the New York Times, ‘Don’t let Ebola dehumanize Africa’. She explained how naïve and evil preconceptions about Africa had resurfaced. Her encounter with a taxi driver in New York, who stigmatized her of the Ebola virus only because she was West African, summed it all.  The story of Kidjo is a tip of the iceberg of larger stories; wrapped in fear that many Africans, the world over, endured about the negative impact of the Ebola virus disease.   In Liberia, an effort to quarantine a huge slum community which is one of the ways of containing the virus went amok when residents clashed with law enforcement officers that resulted in the death of a teenager.But, with all the good news of an Ebola free Liberia, there are strong concerns of an Ebola free sub region, and ultimately, a world free of Ebola with a possibility of a vaccine for the virus.  The Global Community must not see Ebola as a neglected African infectious disease, but an international emergency. As the examples of Duncan, Sawyer, the Spanish nurse, and other foreign nationals that contracted the virus showed, Ebola is an unknown serial killer. A concerted global effort to tackle Ebola and other neglected infectious diseases should be sustained. Africa has borne the brunt of neglect and stigma of diseases she did not create. African governments should collaborate on disease surveillance and prevention mechanisms aimed at protecting their borders and citizens. The war on Ebola and other infectious diseases is like a war on terror and can’t be fought alone. In Liberia, the culture of shaking hands was permanently curtailed bringing a socio-cultural gap among the people who are accustomed to greeting with handshakes and hugs. Every home was manned with a bucket of water mixed with bleach for hand washing.  In the absence of a vaccine and treatment for Ebola, one of the perceived antidotes was good sanitation and hygiene. Ebola has left a sobering message that sanitation is a hallmark of long-term sustainable efforts in combating diarrhea, colorea and other diseases that present  symptoms akin to Ebola . Driving in Monrovia, I spotted a sign that read.’ Don’t Pepee Here’ A sanitation message that forbids people from urinating in public places. Ironically, few minutes later, three middle aged men descended on the sign and urinated profusely.  This is scary. Messages about Ebola awareness and prevention are tied to basic personal hygiene and public sanitation. Messages of constant hand washing with soap and clean water are widespread with a bucket of water posted at every entrance nowadays in Liberia. The Ebola virus is believed to be fast spreading through wastes, urine, feces, vomits, etc.  Hence, proper control of the virus means adequate sanitation.The former spirited city mayor of Monrovia, Mary Broh, was known by her fierce reputation for cleaning up the City. Every first Saturday in Monrovia is recognized as a day of general clean up, famously referred to as Mary Broh day. Liberians should not be fixated on counting the days of an Ebola free Liberia, but should be changing attitudes towards sanitation, personal hygiene, adequate preparedness in response to health and other emergencies. Health authorities should investigate reports of Ebola victims buried in shallow graves in parts of Monrovia, research dumpsites were Ebola waste materials were disposed of, all aimed at preventing a possible resurgence of the virus. As Liberia approaches the rainy season, all bolts must be tied in ensuring that sanitation remains a hallmark in the fight against the return of the serial killer.About the AuthorLekpele M. Nyamalon is a writer and poet from Liberia, an OSIWA Poetry residency fellow and the 2015 winner of World Poetry Day contest organized by Young People Today. He can be reached at nyamalon23@gmail.com Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

A’s get six homers, stout pitching from Anderson and blast Orioles

first_imgOAKLAND — The ball was carrying out to center and right field Tuesday night at the Coliseum.Was it ever.Rookie catcher Beau Taylor lit the fuse with his first major league home run, the first of six by six different players, and Brett Anderson (7-4) pitched seven innings and allowed one earned run in a 16-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles before a crowd of 14,310. Click here if you are having trouble viewing the slideshow on a mobile device. Things were bordering on the ridiculous …last_img

2010 New Year’s Resolutions from the RWW Geeks & Friends

first_imgTags:#Digital Lifestyle#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Forget losing weight or finding the perfect life partner: All we want to do is make 2010 the biggest geek-out year ever.The ReadWriteWeb crew have collectively planned to take over the world next year by honing our nerd super-powers. From programming in Python to building AI houses, we’ve resolved to be smarter, more curious, more technical and way geekier than we were last year. Read our resolutions, and definitely let us know what you plan to do to be the best geek you can be in 2010. The editor-in-chief himself, Mr. Richard MacManus, is known for his fascination with machine-to-machine communication via the Internet of Things. This year promises to be an interesting one at the MacManus residence if Richard’s resolutions hold true.“One of my goals for 2010,” he said, “is to experiment with Internet of Things in my own house and life, using tools like Pachube and sensors. We’ll see how that goes…”We wish you lots of luck, boss! If all goes well, you’ll be a prime candidate for the first episode of Geek Cribs, and we’ll all be very, very jealous. Our own ReadWriteStart warrior, Dana Oshiro, is going to be a busy bee this year.“I’m finding that the coolest ideas come out of academic institutions and enthusiast groups before they’re ever thought of as business-related products. In 2010 I plan on attending more hackathons, dev camps and emerging tech conferences like SIGGRAPH.”In addition to all that conference-hopping, Dana’s going to be doing some web work of her own. “Honestly, I need to revamp my personal website Villagers With Pitchforks. I haven’t changed the design in years.”Alex Williams, our resident enterprise expert, is also known in certain circles as an experienced podcasting pro. His resolution is something the ReadWriteWeb team would all love to see happen.He told us that he wants to use 2010 to “make an informative and entertaining podcast for ReadWriteWeb Enterprise that is lively, smart and fun.”What do our friendly readers think? Would you like to listen to awesome news about what companies and people are moving and shaking in the world of enterprise technology? What folks do you most want Alex to talk to, and what topics would you find most interesting? And where would you be most likely to listen to a RWW podcast? At your laptop, in your car, while walking your dogs? Let us know in the comments! Our newest startup blogger, Chris Cameron, said he wants to use 2010 to press the flesh and put faces with names, so to speak.“Since I’m the new kid on the block and fresh out of J-school with my M.M.C., my new year’s resolution is to get acquainted with as many people as possible in the web/tech/startup industry and develop a healthy amount of sources.”As seasoned journos, it’s our sworn duty to protect cub reporters from no-account rabble rousers, so we asked Chris who he specifically wanted to meet this year. He replied, “I’d love to develop some contacts from the bastions of the Web (Twitter, Facebook, Google, Digg, etc.).”You’re in good company, kid. We’d like to meet those guys, too. Just kidding! As a RWW blogger, you’re sure to have Kevin Rose and Biz Stone on speed dial in no time. We wish you luck. Another ReadWriteNoob is Abraham Hyatt, our intrepid Production Editor. He’s got a full slate of resolutions this year.He told us he wants to have more one-on-one time with “the bloggers I read every day, the people whose tweets I look forward to, the friends who surprise me with what they post.”He also said he’s going to start paying attention to things outside the tech sphere and his geographical scene. “I want to change the fact that I have no idea what’s changing in journalism in China.”And finally, Abraham let us in on how he’s keeping his finger on the pulse of technology. “I want to learn from my 5-year-old niece as she begins using the Web. I just hooked her up with her first kids browser and the way she interacts with the Web will be a hint of what’s to come for all of us online in the next decade.”Add in learning how to code and blogging more, two of his other resolutions, and Abraham’s got a full dance card for the rest of the year! As for me, I plan to learn Python this year. I’ve realized in 2009 that it’s harder to be a tech writer when you don’t have a hacker-esque depth of understanding about APIs and web apps. After talking to Leah Culver, Mark Jeffrey and a bunch of other really smart programmers, I think Python is a great place to start learning about programming languages. So this year, I’m tackling a 900-page O’Reilly book, and I’m not giving up until I have a working web app of my own! Next up, Haskell.Via Twitter, we heard from a few of our friends, including entrepreneur Renato Valdés Olmos, who pointed us to this pretty web app for those without resolutions who yearn to start small. And everyone’s favorite O.G (that’s “original geek” in these parts), Chris Pirillo, just couldn’t resist the opportunity to get sassy. “My geekiest new year’s resolution,” he said, “is 2560×1600.”So, what great and glorious plans have you got for 2010? Will you be hacking your way to entrepreneurial greatness by starting your own web company? Will you be building hardware? Are you resolving to start a new career path, go to a new conference or meet a lifelong tech hero?Let us know your resolutions in the comments! jolie odell Related Posts center_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Mizoram rejects proposed Forest Act amendment

first_imgThe Mizoram government has rejected the Centre’s proposal to amend the “anti-indigenous people” Indian Forest Act, 1927, as its provisions are in “conflict with the special provisions the State enjoys under Article 371G of the Constitution”.Forest rights activists and tribal welfare organisations are against the bill that seeks to give higher management powers beyond what is provided in the Forest Rights Act of 2006, threatens to evict forest dwellers and promotes forest produce through private firms.“The proposal to amend the Indian Forest Act was rejected after a meeting of all stakeholders, including representatives of political parties, civil society organisations and officials,” Mizoram’s Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change T.J. Lalnuntluanga said on Friday.He also holds the Law and Judicial Department portfolio in the Mizo National Front government. Officials in his department said there was a consensus in Thursday’s meeting that the proposed amendment, if made law, would directly encroach upon the provisions of Article 371G. “A reframed Indian Forest Act would challenge Mizo customary laws and practices, ownership and transfer of land as well as the powers conferred upon the autonomous district councils,” a senior officer said, declining to be quoted.last_img read more