ICT Africa Headline News

#ebola 'Takes Over' Social Media

10 August, 2014

Source: Daily Trust

 
By Eseohe Ebhota
As the deadly Ebola disease continues to 'sweep' through West Africa, there has been growing concerns among Nigerians about how to curtail the spread after the first case of the deadly viral disease found its way into the country late last month.

This became a serious topic for discussion on the social media after another death case was recorded. The latest being that of a nurse who died during the week on Tuesday August 5th 2014 in Lagos. She was said to be among those who had treated the Liberian Mr. Sawyer who died from the disease. Also, about 80 secondary contacts of Mr. Sawyer have been located and watched closely in order to prevent further spread of the disease. Other states have however put all its citizens on red alert to ensure that the disease is brought under proper control. They have done this by creating centres in hospitals.

On Friday morning August 8th, 2014 however, there was a new development as Nigerians received messages via various media such as Blackberry Messenger and text messages that everyone should take their bath with hot water mixed with salt as this would help in preventing the spread of the virus. But most people were however skeptical about the effectiveness of the solution which was stated in their various posts on Facebook. Mark Ekawu in his post had this to say, "Na wa oh, calls since 2 am till now......all because of Ebola. Say make person bath with hot water mixed with salt. Another set of doctors say make we drink hot water with salt, because Ebola don waka enter Kaduna".

"People need to be educated. I can't believe how some people would be propagating unfounded stories about the use of salt water to cure or prevent the spread of Ebola when in actual sense Ebola can be transmitted just by mere having bodily contact with the sweat (salt water) of an Ebola patient. How could the usage of salt water prevent or cure Ebola? Please enough of this Salt Water vs Ebola prevention", Mr. Agbaje Olushola posted.

Wakbul Gofwan wrote this on his wall, "The publicity that has been given to Ebola, if it was given to Jesus, the whole world will be saved and not dying. Ebola brings death, Jesus brings life. Spread Jesus, so people may catch him and live. Jesus brings life, Ebola brings death. Choose life. God bless you".

Meanwhile the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday declared that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is "an international public health emergency that requires an extraordinary response to stop its spread".

This new development raised another issue on the social media. Nigerians had distorted views on whether the country's borders should be closed or not. One of them Al-Amin Usman Funtua had this to say. "I think closing of Nigerian boarders is not the issue of concern since the Virus has already started spreading in the country. The federal government should collaborate with the states and other health organizations to prevent the virus from spreading to other states.

In line with Al-Amin's opinion, Muhammad Bashir Lawal stated "The border should be closed as this is the best way to reduce its spread".

Others had a different view. Muhammad Umar Kiruwa posted, "Closing the border is less important as the virus has already penetrated in. The only thing is to minimize internal mobility and intensified medical care. The worst thing in this case is thatour doctors are on strike, which leaves us with the question: who will fight Ebola?"

And in tandem with Muhammad, Abdul Muhammad also said, "Closing the borders will not yield any result because some people in Nigeria are already infected with the virus. May Almighty God protect us".


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