By Dom Giordano
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, Dom Giordano hosted a forum at LaSalle University to address Ebola and talked to Abass Johnson, a Masters of Public Health Student from Liberia and the head of the Public Health Student Organization and Dr. Nora Jones, a Professor at Temple University’s Center for Urban Bioethics, Urban Health and Policy about dealing with a virus like Ebola in a heavily populated urban community.
Dr. Jones said misinformation or a lack of understanding, even in the medical profession, can be a major cause for false alarm.
“We count on our institutions to train and educate and protect our healthcare providers and when there are stories passing daily back and forth with rumors and facts that haven’t been validated yet, but our healthcare providers, when they see someone come into the hospital with a fever and they happen to have black skin and we think they are from Africa, coupled with our lack of knowledge of where the Ebola outbreak is, compared with Africa as a whole continent, it can lead to justifiable concern.”
She stated that aid workers traveling to West Africa must factor in the customs of the local communities they seek to help.
“We can’t just come in as Western bio-medical experts and say ‘here’s what you need to do.’ If the solutions that we propose don’t make sense within the local context, of course it makes sense that they’re not going to be followed. So things like using anthropologists and other local expert to say ‘we value these burial traditions…How can we make this safer to prevent the spread of Ebola while still acknowledging and respecting what you need to do in your funeral ceremonies?”
Johnson said the local Liberian community is very concerned about the perceptions surrounding Ebola.
“Philadelphia is home to about 15,000 Liberians and the Liberian community, about two weeks ago, organized a rally on Woodland Avenue to raise awareness against Ebola. We have Liberians who are coming back from Liberia into the Philadelphia area and they are self-imposing quarantine and by that I mean they are staying home for 21 days just to make sure.”
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