Since the outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa, the stigma it has caused is so profound (especially in my country Nigeria).
People go about their daily business with caution and fear. Handshakes are not encouraged as the virus is said to be contacted through such medium. (The new way to greet is with knuckles. Check out the pictures) People’s social life as well as cultural norms in Africa is at the brink of a total shift due to this deadly virus.
People are seen with gloves trying to prevent the infection; sanitizers are on the rise. Recently, there have been 2 deaths in Markurdi because two people ingested too much salt trying to prevent being infected from the virus.
A sneeze or cough makes people give you a suspicious look even though they are aware that it’s been cold recently. Organizations have instructed workers to be on masks and gloves. It’s strange to go to an office and feel like you are in a hospital.
Despite the fear and confusion, I am amazed at how quickly this virus which is not the best pandemic virus, has made an impact in the lives of people; not even AIDS has had this much attention.
However, as sad as the situation seems, this outbreak does teach us something about making an impact. Now I am not trying to make you become an epidemic and before you hit the x button, here are 5 things Ebola virus shows us about making an impact
Impact is Contagious
One of the things that make a virus so dreaded, is not just its ability to cause damage but the rate at which it can spread to other hosts. The Ebola virus is no different as it transmits from infected animals (usually Bats and Monkeys) to humans through bodily fluids and blood. As microscopic and fragile as such virus looks, the rate at which it has spread across West Africa has made it an emergency of international concern.
How does this apply to you? If you can provide a great value and can solve people’s problem, it’s only a matter of time before your value becomes viral among people. Just remember, you need to have a service or product that can accurately do its job.
The Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 in Nzara in Sudan and Yambuku in Zaire (Now Democratic Republic of Congo). Its name Ebola was gotten from the Ebola river near Yambuku. It seemed it had vanished but it later reappeared in Guinea in December 2013 and later in March 2014 after which it spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and recently Nigeria.
Most people are oblivious to the origin of Ebola virus, and feel that it just started recently; I see people who are surprised that the Ebola virus existed long before now and this has raised a lot of questions like why is it that there is no vaccine to prevent such virus? Why hasn’t there been a cure? It seems as if we are just beginning to know the Ebola virus.
Such behavior is normal and it what makes us human. So this brings me to the next point that if you want to make an impact, start small and don’t give up. As long as you keep helping people, a time will come when people will suddenly respond to your work.
The World health organization reports that there has been a total of 2127 suspected cases with Ebola virus and 1,145 deaths. The reason why it has spread this much is because this virus was allowed to thrive in an ideal spreading disease environment; (poor countries with poor medical services) among people who don’t even trust their government authorities.
Such virus could have been contained if the government had worked towards providing value to the people rather than focus on political ventures which only enrich themselves.
They say prevention is better than cure; it is better to provide value than trying to fix up a mess. To make an impact, you must be value conscious.
Since 1976, there has been a lot of research on Ebola virus. Sadly, in Africa, there is a record of only one person who researched on this virus (Professor Iwu) by testing bitter kolanuts on the virus.
Although his experiments were not accepted, it should have encouraged others to investigate further. However, it seems Africans were not vigilant and are now creating research groups to further study the virus while the Western World has produced experimental vaccines, detailed insight of Ebola virus as well as biotech drugs.
This statement is not to berate Africans but the lesson is very simple; you should prepare today for the opportunities of tomorrow.
You Need People
Although the Ebola virus is said to be transmitted by infected animals, it’s quickly spreading through human to human transmission. This unfortunate occurrence is as a result of the fact that the virus expresses itself through one of man’s social means of communication (Physical Contact)
No man is an Island; there will probably be no virus if there was no living host. So do remember that there can be no impact if there is no one to receive it.
If you have read to this point, then here is thing; you are an inspiration. You are meant to light up your world. You can start by providing information on the ebola virus; you don’t have to be an expert to do such task; people need better ways to consume such kind of information.
Contents like infographs, video, podcasts and webinars will go a long way to spread the information about ebola virus and how to deal with it..
Now even though such information is listed in the the WHO site, i doubt that many are aware of the website plus it definitely will contain lots of jargon which people find it hard to consume . It would be better for people to be able to get such information in different formats. So be an inspiration! Save Africa