Thanks to Cédric Moro for retweeting Adia Benton's tweet of this VOA News report: Social Anthropologist: 'Get Tough' Measures Won't Work for Ebola. Excerpt:
As countries affected by the Ebola outbreak announce tougher measures to check the spread of the disease - including possible jail time for those accused of hiding Ebola patients - public health experts say the “get tough” approach will not work and may just alienate affected communities even more.
Senegalese social anthropologist Cheikh Ibrahima Niang said the days he spent in the village of Njala have stuck with him the most from his month of research in eastern Sierra Leone, one of the three countries most affected by the Ebola outbreak.
Njala used to be home to about 300 people, but many houses were empty. Whole families were dead, Niang said.
Struggling with outbreak
Niang said his team began interviewing residents about the Ebola outbreak and people told them it was the first time anyone had listened to them.
"They said, 'We have had 46 people die in the past month and no one has come to see us or talk to us,' " he said.
Niang said he has heard this a lot from people struggling with the outbreak: They are being left out of decisions about efforts to save them. And it's no wonder officials are meeting with resistance, he said.
Niang said, “There is this whole work of discussion and persuasion that could have been done, but instead we have authoritarian methods. And when you go that route, you will have problems.”
He said he was in the town of Kenema on July 25 when a mob tried to attack an Ebola treatment center. Police dispersed them with live bullets and tear gas.
A mentally unstable woman had declared that Ebola is a "hoax," but Niang said there was more going on.
He said these incidents "are not really about denying Ebola exists. They are an expression of the tension, the anguish people feel."
"And, above all, they are a a cry for reassurance and support," Niang said.