Archive for the ‘Health’ Category


February 5, 2015


Karamo Sanneh, a 37-year-old Gambian, resident of Tallinding in the Kanifing Municipality is in dire need of urgent financial help to go for an overseas medical treatment. According to a medical report from the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH), Karamo was referred from Medical Research Council (MRC) in May 2012 with diagnosis of membrane-proliferative-glomerulonephritis type I, with active microangiopathic and tubular atrophy. In other words, he is a known chronic renal disease patient who immediately needs medical attention to save his life. He is being followed up

He is being followed up at the Nephrology Unit since then.  Recently, he started experiencing abdominal distension, bilateral pedal oedema, general weakness and occasional dizziness. Sanneh is a family man who depends only on him for their sustenance and there is nobody to take care of his family. Please for the sake of goodness and kindness help Karamo get the medical attention he urgently needs. No penny or pound will be small. Donate generously to safe Karamo and his family.

In this regard, he appeals to the government, NGOs, philanthropists, private sector and individuals both home and abroad to come to his aid. Please…please…please help Karamo Sanneh. Anyone willing to help Karamo Sanneh can contact him on the following numbers: (+220) 9921225/9119983.


October 30, 2014





Recently, the Upper River Region administrative area has been inundated with graphic rape cases of under aged girls as young as 10. Basse which was known for its hospitality, amazing landscape and cosy night clubs has meandered into a sinister dwelling for the Basse girl child. The outrageous rape on Sunday of a grade five pupil in the Upper River Region (URR) calls for concerted efforts to curb this increasing menace in it bud once and for all by all and sundry in the region particularly its authorities.

Kibaaro News informant disclosed that the unremorseful felon, Mr S.C, had been molesting the 10 year old girl, whose name has been withheld for legal reasons, for day after severing her tender and fragile virginity on Thursday before his luck extinguished. The 35 year old divorcee is currently helping the Basse Police in their investigation over the alleged rape case. The police remained tied lip by refraining from shedding any light on the case.

Unlike the police, the Regional Education Director for Region 6, Claudine Cole did not hesitate in registering her profound displeasure of the inhumane molestation of her pupil. Speaking to the press, she rebukes: “Such kinds of incidents are so sad and I am deeply frustrated to hear the raping of school children in the region”.  She went further to inform the press that her office is doing all it takes to ensure that students are protected from all forms of sexual abuses as her department continues its immense sensitisation campaign.

The educationist implored parents to be more vigilant and take proper care of their children particularly by monitoring their movements after school hours.  “We have a radio programme every week in Basse during which we talk to parents about the reoccurrence of rape cases and early marriage among others in the region,” she concluded.

Also reacting to this latest series of unsettling rapes cases in the region was Mr Kebba Susso, chairperson of the region’s Parent Teacher Association. Mr Susso urges the security and social services to wake up from their slumbers and tackle this monstrous crime head on. “Concerted efforts are urgently required from all stakeholders in the region to put their hands on deck in ushering out this scandalous crime from our midst. Parents must equally step up and execute their fundamental obligations and duties”, charged Mr Susso. He pressures severe action to be taken against the perpetrators to deter others from venturing into the despicable felony. “We are working very closely with the Police, Education and Social Welfare departments to foster awareness on the consequences of rape on both victims and perpetrators and its health implications”, he assured the press.

Basse is a closely-knitted society and its sons and daughters should not stand by and watch it fall in disarray. The youth force should start policing its community by reporting any suspected felon to the alkalo, chief and police. Basse belongs to us all and only us can develop and protect it.


October 12, 2014





The Girl Generation in collaboration with Southbank Centre’s WOW-women of the world festival on Friday launched a new global campaign: The Girl Generation. The launching that took place simultaneously with events for young people in Kenya, The Gambia and the UK was supported by the UK’s department of international development(DFID’s) historic investment, with the theme of all three events is ‘The Generation that Ends FGM’.

The London’s event was held in a form of a panel discussion where the Secretary of State for international development Hon Lynne Featherstone said they are showing their support but believed that the change has to come from Africa. She called on men and boys to demonstrate their support in ending FGM. “I want everyone regardless of your gender, race, culture, or religion to join the crusade in ending it, because I believe it’s a global issue and it’s really important for everyone to be involved”.

Hon Featherstone finally commended FGM survivors and activists for their braveness and hardworking towards the campaign against FGM.  For her part the education counsellor, Kenya High Commission, UK Margaret Lesuuda said many thinks performing FGM on their girls means cleanliness, but on the contrary it is harm on them. She emphasised that people needs to be educated about the effects it could do to girls and women. As Education she added is the biggest tool in ending the practice. She said with educating our communities to be more aware of the dangers of FGM change will not take place effectively. She however urged people to let their girls stay in education, for them to know their rights and know how to make change happen in their generation.

Nimco Ali co-founder of Daughters of Eve and anti FGM campaigner also added her voice and said FGM is a global issue but mainly an African, as a matter of fact she called on Africans to be more involve in eradicating it. “If everyone take it as a responsibility on them and campaign against FGM, empower women and girls, and then poverty will end in Africa”.

“Until we get a zero tolerant to FGM we will be living in an unequal world”, said Jude Kelly, OBE: Artist Director of Southbank centre. Jude further stated that although the campaign is going well but still more needs to be done as many women especially refugee women needs help. The event was attended by several FGM survivor and activists, gender activists across the UK.


October 11, 2014

stop-domestic-violence-logoOctober is domestic violence awareness month. I am compelled to write on this because recently it tears off my heart to read headlines involving my fellow Gambians about all these senseless killings of spouses , killing that should not have happened at all. “Gambian soldier killed his wife at Fajara Barracks over Tabaski clothing dispute: Bakau girl knifed boyfriend after heated dispute “ ( headlined 10/03/14)“Boyfriend killed over Eid dress” ( 10/03/14). “ Gambian kills wife , commits suicide in U.K”( ! Why so many senseless killings out there by Gambians? What is possessing our people? One killing is too many to hear and too many to accept. Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone. This is not just a Gambia issue but global one but killing spouses is not really a common thing to Gambians.

We must not resolve our differences through violence and it should never involve murder at it’s worst. Love should not hurt. When you love someone , you should die for them not kill them. It is weakness to resort to violence towards your spouse. It is strength to seek common ground, and compromise, it is important to understand that killing your spouse will not solve the relationship problems. Love should not cost anyone their lives, should not involve physical pain of any sorts, nor should it involve emotional distress. We are involved in love because we want to have happiness, we want to feel worthy and want the other person to feel the same way. Things are not always going to be easy , there will be thorny roads and regardless of that, efforts must not involve taking the life of the other party. No one person should feel scared in the presence of their spouse, no one should feel lonely in the presence of their spouse, and no one should feel the least of him or herself when you are involved with somebody. If you feel otherwise, it is the wrong one for you. Domestic abuse doesn’t have to be physical but psychological and emotional as well. Everyone deserve to be happy and be appreciated and if one feels otherwise, they should be free to leave without fearing for their lives.

Our temperament is our biggest enemy. When argument arises, it is important to control your anger. It is a big mistake to make any decision whilst you are angry. I will suggest that when things are heated, it is best for one party to move away as quickly as possible and be somewhere. Wait until both parties cools down, have constructive dialogue based on mutual respect.
To my fellow men , please pamper your women, if you going to make her scream, let it be of pleasure in the bedroom not of pain from abuse. It is cowardice to seek dominance in a relationship. It is weakness to hit your woman or scream at her. She should be happy to see you not happy to have you away. Should she be thinking about your hand, it should be the good of how you utilize it between her legs not on her face leaving marks. Domestic violence tears away the veil of our civilization, it makes us look like beasts, monsters, stupid, ignorant .If there is a problem, talk to someone for guidance, or advice . Resorting to violence is not only wrong, but unacceptable to all those with conscience.

I urge all my Gambian sisters out there to recognize those signs of an abusive relationship and these signs include but are not limited to the followings viz: if your man is using fear, intimidation, dominance humiliation , isolation , threats, denial and blames you for every thing, verbally , physically and emotionally assault you, it is time to head to the door. Don’t feel desperate to stay in an abusive or potential abusive relationship. You are better off single than in marriage or commitment of any sort whereas you are enslaved, and unhappy. I will tell my fellow men the same thing but please do not resort to violence. It is not worthy it. You love someone,try and treat them right and let them treat you the same way.
I hope we all stay away from violence especially those that are fatal to our our spouses. Honor your commitment and make it a happy one. If there is no happiness, please graciously let it go.
God bless you all and may He bless our heart to endure love with those we promise to protect.

By Bamba Mbackeh Jabbi
       U. S.A


October 5, 2014




Folks it is logical that when someone badly needs help and hears another person offering it, he or she will do anything possible to reach for the help no matter what may cost. When our lunatic and shameless President claimed that he can cure Aids, asthma, tuberculosis, diabetes and many other ailments, people came from all corners of the country, others even came from neighbouring countries with the hope of being cured by him. It is about time Gambians be conscious about their health and safety because as far as President Jammeh is concern, right and medical diagnosis is irrelevant. Moreover, he gives no regards to dosage, side-effects and consequences of his concoction. His patients are left with no choices of discontinuing his treatment and/or opting for treatment at medical centres. For him, one is compelled to takes his treatment or rot in hell.

I wonder if there is any medical regulatory body and looks into the qualification of any medical practitioner before been posted at medical centres and dispensing treatment and medication. If so, why is that body not vetting His Excellency Sheikh Professor Doctor Alhaji Yahya Abdul Aziz Jamus Junkung Jammeh Amir-al Muminin Babili Mansa’s claims that he has cures for ailments such as HIV?AIDS, and now Ebola? My brothers and sisters, we all know that not all who have doctorate titles are medical doctors. Consequently, for President Jammeh to be conferred with an honorary Doctorate degree does not qualify him to become a medical doctor. So brothers and sisters, President Jammeh is not a medical doctor, the tittle doctor he is carrying is a fake doctor  not a professional doctor, he cannot even pass as an auxiliary nurse more especially a medical doctor. Therefore, going to President Jammeh for medical treatment tantamount to committing suicide because the so-call medicine he is dispensing is deadly concoctions whose exact side-effects and dosage he does not know.

My fellow Gambians and My fellow Africans at large, President Jammeh is a murder and suffice it to say he has killed many Gambians and Africans with guns, knives, cutlasses, torture and many other means. As if that is not enough, now he has decided to use EBOLA as his new killer machine by claiming that he can cure it. Ebola Virus is presently one of the deadliest enemies of humankind and needless to say anyone suffering from the Ebola Virus only desires to reach and get the right cure irrespective where and who gives it. If President Jammeh can truly cure Ebola Virus, then why didn’t he mention it in his speech at the United Nation General Assembly as he mentioned other things that are affecting people?

Thanks to Allah (SWT), there is no single confirmed case of Ebola Virus in The Gambia. Now this idiot calling himself a president claims that he can cure Ebola Virus thus enticing Ebola patients to travel to The Gambia in order to be treated for them to be cured by this SON OF A B****. Brothers and sisters whether you believe me or not,  anytime these Ebola patients cross the border into The Gambia before they reach this bastard so-call medicine man, many Gambians will be infested with Ebola virus and eventually die as the Dictator is a fake medical doctor. Mr. President stop lying to the Gambian people. Stop lying to the African people and stop lying to the world by claiming that you can cure aids, tuberculosis, asthma, diabetes and now Ebola Virus.  Why didn’t you  Because if you have that kind of powerful medicines, then you would have cure your sick daughter Mariama Jammeh, your son Mohammed Lamin Jammeh  and mother Aja Asombie Bojang Mr. President, if you truly can cure all these ailments?  Nevertheless, Mr. President, the late Robert Nester Marley (Bob) said, you can “fool some people some time but you can’t fool all the people all the time”.

Mr President, how dare you to go to the national television and other public gatherings claiming that you can cure various diseases whiles on the bottom of your heart you know that you are lying and you know that there are many other people who know that you are lying?

Lamin Saddam Sanyang,The Netherlands.


August 13, 2014


Fabakary Tombong Jatta

Fabakary Tombong Jatta

The Gambia Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has assured the public not to be alarmed and/or make any superfluous fuss concerning Ebola outbreak in West Africa since there is no detection yet in the country. Task force committees with support materials from the United Nation World Health Organization have been set up  to control the border areas for those coming in and going out of the country for Ebola virus prevention. A communication committee has also been created under the task force to develop messages around Ebola and print posters, leaflets and flyers for Ebola control, health officials said on Tuesday.

“We are also stepping up our sensitization programmes  on Radios and the national television to educate communities on the Ebola virus in case of any outbreak”, Lamin Ceesay Health Communication Unit Coordinator  under the Ministry of Health and Social officials announced. “ We are continually liaising with the communities through regional health offices to sensitize 210 technical advisory  committee members comprising heads of government institutions from Education, Health ,Agriculture and  Local  Government authorities including the Governors , District and Village  Heads”,  Mr Ceesay added.

The surveillance has been increased and strengthened at border areas to monitor those coming in and out of the country. The ministry of Health has equally equipped Public Health officers who are posted at border areas to serve as surveillance officers. “All these measures don’t mean complacent. We are working with the World Health Organization to ensure that Ebola virus is prevented” Health Officials stressed. According to World Health Organization recent report the death toll from Ebola outbreak in West Africa has risen to 603 since its outbreak in February 2014. World Health Organization continues to monitor the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, according to the health officials.

National Assembly members in the Gambia have raised concerns over the deadly Ebola virus and increasing terrorist activities within the sub-region. The members urged ECOWAS parliamentarians to facilitate an extra-ordinary session in consultation with relevant stakeholders in the region to strategize measures to contain the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa. “We enjoined Gambian ECOWAS parliamentarians to facilitate an extra-ordinary session with their ECOWAS colleague to strategize measures to contain the deadly Ebola virus”, Honourable Kalifa Jammeh, National Assembly Member for Bakau, said. “The virus is affecting West African countries and it is a general concern to address the issue before it gets out of control”, Hon Jammeh cautioned.

“The out breaks have also affected the movement of the people from one West African nation to another. All the flights have been banned from picking passengers from the affected countries which hinders the economy”, Hon Demba Baldeh, National Assembly Member for Niani, buttressed. The Majority Leader and Member for Sere Kunda Central, Hon Fabakary Tombong Jatta, noted the issue is a national concern and requires all hands on deck to address and place preventive measure for its outbreak. The members also called for Unity and territorial integrity as well as to support Nigeria with its fight against terrorism. The members made these remarks on Tuesday during their debate on the ECOWAS Parliamentarians Report which was held in Abuja Nigeria in May 2014.



July 1, 2014





Ebola: Is the virus attracting the wrong kind of attention? The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has been described as “out of control” by Medecins sans Frontieres. VoR’s Tim Ecott hosts a discussion with four expert guests on a virus which is thought to have killed more than 400 people this year. Joining Tim in our London studio were:

Dr. Mahlet Zimeta, lecturer in Philosophy at University of Roehampton, honorary research associate at Department of Science and Technology Studies, UCL

Sulayman Jengassistant editor of Kibaaro News (Gambia)

Dr Ben Neuman, virologist from the University of Reading’s School of Biological Sciences and by Skype from Liberia:

Agnes Umunna, journalist and founder of human resources development project Straight from the Heart


BN“On a case by case basis, Ebola is one of the most deadly pathogens that we know about. In the current cases it affects and actually kills somewhere between 50 percent and 90 percent of the people who are infected. However, the good side is that the virus doesn’t spread very well. When it does spread it actually makes your body essentially attack itself: the white blood cells that would normally be cleaning up the virus infection are provoked into releasing a lot of harmful chemicals that degrade the inner lining of your blood vessels, and this is what eventually causes death due to organ failure.”

“In a hospital, as I understand it, the treatment is generally bed rest, you try to keep the patient well-hydrated and comfortable for the duration of the virus, which sometimes can last as much as a month.”

“In the laboratories people have found some drugs that seem at least in cell culture to be effective against the virus, but, as far as I’m aware, these haven’t been used in a clinical setting and we don’t know if the damage they will do to the people will be preferable to the disease.”

AU: “I don’t think people are worried about the outbreak of Ebola, because there’s not much awareness in Liberia, and people are running away from doctors, some lock their doors, because there’re rumours about how the diseases are spreading, and I think there should be more sensitisation on the Ebola sickness. People in Liberia think that the WHO just wants to get funding and that government officials are not doing enough sensitisation to educate people about it. And another question is they don’t have labs to test those who are dead from the diseases to see if it’s really from Ebola.”

“It’s not just Liberia, all countries in precaution mobilise emergency response mechanisms and call on the international community to mobilise resources. The government is not really doing much, because if they did we should have sensitisation. In Lofa County they have five new cases reported, and 11 people died in Lofa. So health teams should go to Lofa County and they are being driven away. So the government has to do more education about this, I do not know if and how they are doing it.”

SJ: “Gambia has a high level of preparedness for an outbreak of Ebola. The Gambian government through its ministry of health and social welfare has set up preparatory mechanisms through its partners and stakeholders. What the government did in the first place is when they heard an outbreak in Guinea and in Liberia, they set up a control mechanism, flights from affected areas were banned, but what the government was able to achieve is the control of people coming into Gambia with the virus. Planes were only allowed to drop people and not to pick up anyone. The government also made a nationwide assessment of the resources and materials that they have on the ground and in the health facilities in case there is an Ebola epidemic. The Gambian government has also initiated a nationwide sensitisation programme and they have created sub regional technical advisory committees and local authorities on Ebola for each region.”

BN: “What happens is that as the disease progresses the person starts to feel worse and worse, and it’s about the time when person starts feeling really bad they are most likely to be able to transmit the disease. These people wouldn’t want to move, from what I understand, you just want to lie down and be still during this time. So it may be that people are incapacitated enough that they don’t spread it, but there is certainly no physical barrier to spreading the virus overseas by air travel.”

MZ: “I don’t know if I think that Ebola has been ignored in terms of medical research, but I think there are practical economic constraints that make it harder for African researchers to lead work in this area. So if you want to do the research on Ebola, you need to be working in labs that have the highest level of biosafety, biosafety level 4. And there are about 43 of these labs known to be in existence, and only 2 are in Africa. A lab like this costs about 2.5 million euros annually to maintain, and the physical security of it – one researcher described it as a submarine inside a bank vault, very restricted access. The cost of maintaining these labs means that it’s difficult for African universities and African governments, researchers based in Africa to pioneer research in this field.”

BN: “Africa is where the disease always comes back, and about every 2 years it seems to rear its ugly head again, so people in Africa have a vested interest. These are the people who are going to be infected, and these are the people who I would think, would most want to do research. Yes, it’s really a shame that there are no more category 4 high containment laboratories there to enable them to do this.”

AU: “Since the outbreak’s begun 24 people died in Liberia, 49 in Sierra Leone and 264 in Guinea, and there’s no lab to verify any of these deaths. So I think the most important thing is to build a lab in Africa, where they can verify if these deaths are caused by Ebola. And there are so many health issues that are affecting Africans, Liberians and other people. Recently a Canadian came from Liberia and he was very sick, people thought he had Ebola. So the most important for us is to talk about health issues. So my idea, the people or the WHO needs to create a lab in Liberia. All those viruses we transport to Europe to the think-tanks, by the time the results come 12 or 20 people are dead, just to test this on. So I know there is no more need, but the most priority is that the government and president can do is to create these labs for us in Liberia or in Africa, we should have something in Africa, especially in West Africa where these viruses can be found now.”

SJ: “It is a priority, because the president is very much interested in this Ebola case, and recently he has bought a very sophisticated machine that could test the virus that cost 50 million Dalasi. So with the level of preparedness that Gambia has in place. I think if there should be a laboratory in Africa it should be Gambia.”

“I do agree with you on that level, but it is also that every country has its specific health issues. In Gambia we used to have malaria as a major killer disease. Of late the government, like with Ebola, has sensitised the general public on how to prevent the malaria disease, protect themselves from mosquito bites (like nets that they soak in incense that people use overnight), so it reduces the level of infection, so it’s no longer a major killer disease in Gambia. Like with the Ebola case, when they had an outbreak in Guinea, the government set up a preparedness plan, which they put forward through their stakeholders and partners. And recently the WHO donated leaflets and other materials that will also help to enhance the sensitisation.”

It depends on the government’s interest. Because if you look at Africa, most of the governments have more political priorities than other, health, socio-educational facilities.”

AU: “Even when it comes to controlling movements of people from affected regions there’s no improved screening and checkpoints, people crossing borders from West Africa from Guinea and Sierra Leone to Liberia.

I think they should call on the international community and the WHO to mobilise resources in West Africa to control movement and create screening points.”

MZ: “My concern is not that Ebola is attracting too much attention, but maybe the wrong kind. There’re at least two things going on there, one is ‘disaster pornography’, where we have this almost pornographic attention paid to catastrophes, calamities, disasters, earthquakes; it’s visually shocking and it’s spectacular, it’s understandable that it attracts immediate attention, but the consequences of this kind of pornography are worrying, because it rewards a short-term attention and not a meaningful, informed engagement.”

“There’re sort of colonial fantasies going on there, but generally in terms of how illness is understood, Susan Sontag, philosopher and writer, has done some interesting work on that: when we don’t have a cure for an illness, it becomes a location of our fantasies, such as in the 19th century it was tuberculosis. Because we didn’t know how to cure it, it became this romantic and deadly illness, people had it as a moral judgement on themselves and it was taboo, you couldn’t talk about it, if you had it you were socially shunned. And then it moved to AIDS, HIV, you know, ‘that’s the plague’, if you got it you have to keep it quiet. Ebola, because we don’t have a cure for it, it’s taking that place, and I’m a bit concerned at the policies of containment that are being followed, because that’s not the WHO’s recommendation. They said in fact containment is not needed.”

“They only want to stop people moving about because there’s been a problem in communication; as far as I understand, Ebola is transmitted through bodily fluids, it’s not an airborne virus, so it can’t be transmitted by travel, by trade, by closing the border.”

SJ: “The main reason for containment of travel, as you said, is because there’s no proper understanding of the disease itself, how to identify it and prepare proper labs where you can test how X has contracted the disease, the real understanding of how it is transmitted through body fluid.”

AU: “My strong belief is the international community has to collaborate with the ministry of health in their countries and address three key areas: education, communication, behaviour change, and surveillance in terms of trafficking and contact with suspected cases. And I think it has to come from the ministry of education how to go about it and reach the communities.”

BN: “I see that all around me, but I think it’s not the reason why we should go after this virus and try to stop it. I think the reason is that this is a very controllable and very potentially curable problem. You’ve got a virus that is always going to be in a band, it runs right through the middle of Africa, it’s going to keep coming back, but each time it comes into people, it burns itself out in a few months, the studies have shown that you only need to control a little bit of the virus, if we knock back 90 percent of the virus with a drug or something, and the person can potentially survive.”

Lots of small labs around the world are already putting their money and time into coming up with possible solutions, and there’s a wide range of these, things from antibodies, little proteins, lots of different drugs that seem to be at least promising, it’s just at the next step, getting it to something that we know is safe to use and effective in the clinic. This is very, very expensive. And, frankly, I’m not sure whether individual countries can afford this or would have a reasonable vested interest in putting in that kind of money. And I think it’s a much easier problem to solve than HIV which, once you have it is yours forever, cancer, which is basically a mutation of you, it’s almost too much life, or even something like tuberculosis, which hides inside our cells, and is very difficult to root out. Yes, Ebola can be fixed.”

MZ: “I thought what Dr. Neuman said was very interesting, and it was new to me. He said that it may not be affordable to individual countries, and if that’s right it means the Ebola virus recurs, and recurs in Africa. And what would be a shame is if each time we got this kind of hysterical media frenzy, this fancy of Africa, the Dark Continent from which death is going to come.”

AU: “It matters to me, because, as I said, HIV came from Africa because of monkeys, so why should Ebola be an African disease? That guy that came from Liberia to Canada, as soon as he came he was treated. And I think they suspected he had Ebola, but because there’re treatments and health services there, he was treated. But if someone’s suspected of Ebola in Liberia, there’s no place for diagnosis. It’s not an African disease; they just want to stick it to Africa.”

SJ: “It is a two-way: the West is tied to Africa, and Africa always relies on the West to resolve their problems for them, personally I think Africans should step up and try to resolve their problems without relying much on external forces or agents like the western world.”

“It depends on how you define poverty, when it comes to resources, Africa has more than Europe; Europe relies a lot on Africa for raw materials to develop themselves. So if Africans step up and become more responsible, they could develop the resources they’ve got themselves instead of relying on the West to do it all for them. This is the case of Gambia, for example, if the government was complaisant, they would not have any national assessment of facilities they have, they would not come up with any plan to prepare the state in case of an epidemic, they would not sensitise the public. But the public is aware, as you mentioned before, because Gambia is a small state, so it is easier communicate with its citizens, but if government is not interested in educating the people, they won’t be educated.”

BN: “I suppose that’s the problem, I may not care where a particular virus comes from, I’m interested in a virus, but my funding body probably does. If it’s a UK-funding body, they only want to fund things affect the UK interests.”

MZ: “I agree with Sulayman when he says that how you define poverty is crucial. Africa is not poor in resources, nor in will or energy, it is economically poor, but it’s about mastering those resources. I think we mustn’t forget the history of dividing rule and exploitation, so I’m a bit wary when we seem to portray African governments as intrinsically incompetent and malicious, and forget the conditions under which they are operating, which are exploitative, and international agreements to which they are held to by other parties.

“There’s this thing called the Nagoya Protocol, to follow Dr. Neuman’s point about funding for certain kinds of research, the Nagoya Protocol was set to protect biodiversity and insure that the benefits of this kind of research were shared internationally and equally, the idea would be that would motivate the indigenous peoples in rural areas to cooperate with big pharmaceuticals or governments of other countries or international organisations. The actual agreement of the protocol has been widely spread in the so-called developing world, and very minimally taken up in the developed world; they are not interested in equal sharing of resources or mutual benefits. A county in South East Asia (I believe it was Indonesia) refused to handle over samples of the most recent version of bird flu to the WHO, because it was trying to sign an agreement with a drug company to develop a vaccine with a cure suitable to its own population. Because if they hand it over to the WHO, and then the international cure is developed, they are not going to be the first country that gets it and they won’t be able to afford it. So I think we are seeing interesting reactions from the countries in so-called developing world, and there’s a reason for this. We mustn’t forget the history of exploitation, and its current history isn’t being addressed.”

BN: “The main cost is in people, as I suppose every aspect of research is. Somewhere around $100 million to $200 million will be the low end and it can go a little higher than that. It’s the cost of getting doctors to the right place, renting hospitals, putting all that equipment there, manufacturing the drug, making a factory to manufacture the drug, yes, there’s a lot that goes into it, more than just handing a person a pill and see if it works.”

AU: “I don’t know how to calculate these things, but in West Africa, there are weak public centres for people. And more has to be done to prevent Ebola from spreading into communities. But, as I said, my president is the iron lady in Liberia, the first African president in Liberia, I know how much money she raised for the election and campaign, and she can raise that for a lab in Liberia just for Ebola.”

MZ: “I’m not sure that’s for me to say, because in the wider context, I think if a government spends that money on an Ebola cure, then they might be criticised for not spending it on education or on famine and malnutrition, or sexual health. So in the context of all other problems governments have to deal with – I can’t say. But going back to my point of disaster pornography, what I think would be good is if the attitude towards the victims was closer to empathy and compassion rather than seeing them as a spectacle.”