Western Africa Ebola Epidemic ) Essay

Pages: 3 (997 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Disease

An understanding of social structures and institutions in Western Africa is essential to help health care workers contribute to the minimization or elimination of Ebola. Rural communities have several features that are absent in urban communities or communities outside of Western Africa. For instance, there may be a strong emphasis on and belief in sorcery, witchcraft and the supernatural among community members that can impact the efficacy of healthcare interventions. Likewise, there may be a lack of authority or infrastructure in health care. Belief in sorcery and witchcraft can be "problematic," but these beliefs do not necessarily need to interfere with treatment interventions and attempts to prevent the spread of the disease (Hewlett & Hewlett, 2005, p. 291). Culturally sensitive communication and education is necessary if public health programs are to be effective in the long run. Funding for Ebola prevention needs to increase too, as health care workers in rural areas often lack access to protective gear that could inhibit the spread of the disease. Similarly, a lack of staff available to educate and counsel the public in local languages is also a problem. Future funding also needs to be devoted toward the discovery of a vaccine or medical treatments.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Essay on Western Africa Ebola Epidemic (2014) Assignment

Using protective equipment such as gloves, masks, and gowns do not correspond to traditional African healing modalities, but are necessary to promote community health. Such preventative measures are critical for nurses and health care workers exposed to those who have been exposed to the disease, even if the individuals are in quarantine and have no symptoms. Similarly, any population may perceive of quarantines and other interventions as hostile or distasteful. Given the severity of the disease, though, these practices are necessary and need to become standard practice in at-risk communities. Cultural barriers are not as prevalent in the United States, but precautions need to be taken at ports of entry such as airports receiving individuals who have recently traveled to Western Africa. Thus, the international community will be potentially affected by Ebola in terms of disruptions to travel.

Outside of West Africa, the chances of contracting Ebola are low. However, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone remain high-risk areas that have yet to fully contain the disease. Travel bans do help to prevent the spread of the illness beyond the borders of these nations, but health care workers remain at risk.


Brumfield, B. & Wilson, J. (2014). Ebola virus fears grow as virus spreads. Journal of Advanced Practice Nursing. Retrieved online: http://www.asrn.org/journal-advanced-practice-nursing/1166-ebola-virus-fears-grow-as-virus-spreads.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2014). Ebola. Retrieved online: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/

Hampton, T. (2014). Largest-ever outbreak of Ebola virus disease thrusts experimental therapies, vaccines into spotlight. Journal of the American Medical Association, 312 (10), 987-989

Hewlett, B.S. & Hewlett, B.L. (2005). Providing care and facing death: Nursing

during Ebola outbreaks in Central Africa. Journal of Transcultural Nursing. 289-297.

Li, Y.H. & Chen, S.P. (2014). Evolutionary history of Ebola virus. Epidemiology & Infection,


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