West Africans and Doctors.

west-africa-map

Ebola is  the virus  striking fear into hearts all through the world.  Here are the countries where  the epidemic originated and continues.  For us in the west, it seems impossible that it can’t be contained because we have provisions for patients to be quarantined.   I have a personal tale which may shine light on part of the problem.

I have a dear friend from this part of the world. I will call him KD and not include his country but it is one of these Western African countries.  KD was visiting in our house when he developed a huge and smoldering boil on his back. I knew nothing to do but take him to a medical emergency center. KD seemed nervous, so I went into see the doctor with him.  The proscribed treatment was lancing the boil and a numbing shot and another for antibiotics.  KD  literally grew pale.

“What is the matter?” I asked.

“In my country, people die after getting shots!” KD replied.

With some encouragement , he had the shots and thankfully didn’t die!

But you see the mindset of the West Africans who fear doctors and going to the hospital because people die there.  And KD is an educated, world traveler who still remembered what goes on when you are sick in his country.

Now people are dying quickly and horribly in this section of Africa. People fear Ebola and the treatments. When their family members die, it is tradition for the family to bathe the body, but that is the worst thing with patients who have Ebola. There are definite burial procedures recommended.  These cultural traditions and fears are obstructing the World Health Organization and others who are trying to stop this epidemic.

This story, I hope highlights not only the Ebola tragedy but others throughout the world where cultures and traditions clash. As  we learn from each other on WordPress we hear  what others feel and think , if  we still don’t understand hopefully we can acknowledge each others humanity.

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Have you learned about different cultures and traditions that are different from yours?  

About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Anne
This entry was posted in Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to West Africans and Doctors.

  1. Rusha Sams says:

    It seems to be a cycle that is hard to break. If people don’t get shots, they can’t get cured. But people are dying after getting certain shots. I feel so sorry for the African people as well as the doctors who are trying to treat them.

  2. YellowCable says:

    I hope the recent out break and with trial of vacine on few people give good information for future cure of this horible disease.

  3. Thanks for giving us the cultural information, very interesting and informative.

  4. Thank you again for educating me x

  5. Thanks for sharing this story. Being in the health industry, it fascinates us to hear cultural and traditional beliefs and how it affects people’s decision and opinion about treatment that we consider conventional, “western”, modern and/or the norm.

  6. I think there is a problem which is a hangover from reaction to the colonial period…we are now so hung up about interfering with local culture that we don’t make the attempt to engage with those who could help to rework the rituals surrounding deatrh and burial to minimise risk.

    • annetbell says:

      Yes what a great point! Things are so complicated. . . There is an awesome book on the partitioning and the mistakes made then that are still causing trouble today. “Indian Summer” by Alex von Tunzelmann

  7. DebraB says:

    Thank you for this enlightening post. Why do people die from shots in the countries you are referring to?

    • annetbell says:

      That’s a great question. I don’t know for sure, but maybe for lack of refrigeration, or sanitation. Something we just take for grated, I imagine. We were concerned about India for 4 months, but found a wonderful hospital, spotlessly clean and very competent doctors who had lots of tummy pills for the students who insisted on eating street food in India ! I wrote a post on Medical Tourism in India and would do it myself if I needed a hip or a knee!

  8. It’s quite sad how the treatment we take for granted is so rarely trusted for the lack of it’s extend and ability in other countries

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