Ebola does scare Zambians tremendously. Although some Zambians claim it couldn't spread throughout Zambia due to certain climatic conditions – I think this is based more on national pride than actual science or even public health theory – it is a particularly common topic of discussion. About once or twice per year there are reports of Ebola popping up in Congo, our neighbor to the North, and I have a hard time believing the climate between Congo and Zambia could be that different, so I'm not sure I feel reassured with that logic.
As mentioned, Ebola isn’t found here now, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ties to the disease within Zambia. Three interesting stories about Ebola:
1) It was suggested to me this past weekend that when the 2013 movie World War Z was released last summer it was released by the Western world, specifically the United States, as a warning to the rest of the world that we had developed something in our labs – something deadly – that we were going to openly release. That something was Ebola and World War Z was the warning we chose to send and the guide provided for world to follow.
|Naturally I'm left to assume that Brad Pitt was in on the whole thing.|
3) My job’s focus deals with strengthening the resiliency of rural community members to respond to future natural disasters. Some of this strengthening is done by the community members themselves via action plan creation (coming up with action plans to follow in the case of a drought, flood, etc.), and recently one of the groups said they were going to address the Ebola concerns of their community by creating an action plan focused entirely on preventing the spread of Ebola throughout their community.
|Posters like this can be found all over Zambia. Knowledge is power, eh? Some of the pictures seem a little too suggestive - but that's just my opinion.|
I'm probably in as good of a place as I could be to avoid Ebola. Yes, it is on this continent, but when the continent is massive that’s reassuring. Plus, I deal mainly with villagers who are unlikely to get sick, I would assume, because they would never travel to West Africa, whereas if I worked in a bank or for a business with people traveling a lot then it seems my risk would inherently increase. But, needless to say, I work with folks that can't even afford the taxi ride to the airport.
Anyway, I'm very glad it isn't here. Zambia, and nearly the entire rest of Africa, still has malaria, auto accidents, HIV/Aids and all of those are significantly more deadly – on a numbers basis – than Ebola. Let’s continue hoping Ebola is never added to that list.