Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Ebola, Rumor has it...

Eating cola nuts cures Ebola, according to rumors flying around in Ghana, at least. First I found this hilarious. Surely, no one would believe this. However, it stopped being funny when I found out how wide spread this rumor was. I heard some radio stations and TV stations had aired this. This is just one of the many ridiculous stories making the rounds about Ebola, AIDS, Cholera and most deadly diseases. The problem with this is Ghanaians tend to believe unfounded rumors more than scientific facts. People will turn down conventional medicine but religiously apply these strange 'remedies' and end up dying with discolored teeth to show for their troubles.

I investigated where these rumors started and found out there was a chain message going round on WhatsApp. One of those annoying, “Forward this to 10 people and see what happens” kind. Why anyone will take those things serious is beyond me. Anyway, so I kept searching and finally came across the name Dr Maurice Iwu, a Nigerian. His claims aren’t supported by anyone else and various medical groups in Nigeria have come out to refute his claims. It took me a whole 10 minutes to find this out. So why couldn’t radio and TV stations investigate before putting these stories out there? Have they forgotten the Fauster Atta Mensah debacle so soon?

Meanwhile, in Nigeria where the cola nut cure is supposed to have originated, they believe salt and not cola nut is the cure for Ebola. Salt sellers couldn’t be more pleased. I heard that people have been adding caps of salt to bathing water. People have taken to drinking salt water and over salting their meals in an attempt to avoid the deadly disease.

Then there are the spiritual solutions. Whenever there's a tragedy that grabs wide attention, all manners of “spiritual gurus” pop up in an attempt to make a name for themselves. Recently, a witch doctor lost his not-so-hard earned reputation when he nearly drowned. He had been called upon to act on his claim that he had incantations with which he could communicate with spirits to release the body of the allegedly drowned afro-pop musician, Castro. The irony. As a Christian, when pastors cash in on disasters for personal glory, I get very angry.

There are two groups of pastors when it comes to cashing in on disasters. There are those who swear they are experts in eschatology and always claim every disaster is a sign of the End Times. These people keep predicting the end of the world and well, we are still here. I’ve heard a few pastors on radio say that Ebola is punishment from God because of homosexuals. Another said it was one of the prophesied pestilences that herald the Second Coming of Christ. This group is generally annoying but not as dangerous as the second group.
The second group, which in my opinion is the more dangerous, is the ‘Miracle Workers’. These pastors claim they can cure anything. A few years ago, there was one group that refused to have their children immunized against poliobecause their religious leaders told them not to. Polio would probably have been completely eliminated if not for such groups.

People are dying from diseases that could have been cured if people sought early help instead of spiritual solutions. Sick people are traveling all the way from Ghana to Nigeria to consult pastors when a hospital is nearer. For me this is frustrating. My opinion is that these religious leaders should be arrested and charged with murder any time one of these people dies. One of the most annoying things about people who seek spiritual solution is, whenever the said patient is about to die, they manage to take the person to the hospital. By which time, it is usually too late for the doctors to do anything. If however, the doctor manages to save the patient, you see them in the churches of these charlatans giving thanks to the pastor for saving their lives.
In recent times, there’s been a new group of conspiracy theorist. Their mantra goes something like, “So-so-and-so disease was created in the lab by white people to kill black people”. For me these people are just entertaining. I love listening to them spew big words and twisted scientific concepts to suit their arguments.
Two Americans are reportedly responding to an experimental Ebola medication.  Obama recently said, the cure isn’t ready for Africa yet. "They conduct dangerous drug trails on unsuspecting Africans all the time but the one that actually works they won’t try on us?", was what one said to me. Conspiracy theorist had a field day. I honestly have no opinion. I just want a proven cure made available.

So if rumors are to be believed, no disease is caused naturally by pathogens. Certainly not Ebola. It’s either spiritual or artificial. People have been advised to stay away from bush meat but knowing they can’t be bothered. They hold fast to their archaic views to either cause panic or to holding on to some ridiculous cure claim.

Anyone who knows me would know I’m a bit of a germaphobe. Ever since the Ebola rumors started I’ve been overdosing on hand sanitizers, bathing every time I get back home no matter how brief I was outdoors and staying away from anything I didn't cook myself.

If you ever meet me don’t offer to give me a hug or handshake. Stay a safe distance and throw me a peace sign. Peace!

what is the strangest thing you've heard about Ebola? Please share