Letter to the editor: U.S. to aid in countering Ebola outbreak
We are sending this open letter to The Collegian to address an issue that concerns us all. We have learned that the U.S. is sending 3,000 military troops to Africa “so the U.S. can boost and counter the outbreak of Ebola." We are concerned that sending military troops without cultural competency will hinder efforts rather than assist them. In our classes, we have found that International Aid workers have been going to African countries hit by Ebola for the past decade. They arrive, don hazmat suits and go to the rural regions hit by Ebola. There, with clinical efficiency, they arrive, remove bodies, take blood, disinfect and leave, often without speaking to anyone in the village to explain what they are doing and why. As a result, local people are often left to draw their own conclusions as to why bodies and blood were taken away without normal interactions of civility and humanity. Often, due to colonial-era abuse of rural citizens, paranoia reigns and people surmise the hazmat workers are “stealing organs or blood.” As a result, the site of the hazmat suits or of ambulances causes infected patients to run or to hide, exacerbating the spread of Ebola.