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Ebola Virus Outbreak In Nigeria: The Place Of Water And Language

Congress: 2015
Author(s): Linda Nkamigbo (Awka)


Keyword(s): Sub-theme 9: Water allocation among competing uses and users,
AbstractIntroduction- The ongoing 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak which is affecting Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria has turned out to be an international health problem. This is as a result of the disease's high fatality rate. Efforts are going on to develop a vaccine; however residents of tropical regions of Sub-Saharan Africa have been urged to take preventive measures. On this note, the Nigerian President seeks collaboration of other West African countries in the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). Methods- This paper investigates the place of water and language in preventing the EVD. It presents a descriptive analysis of the situation, particularly how the Ebola epidemic is discussed among the populace, and how such discourses have heightened awareness on water, sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria. Media discourses like television messages and information obtained from newspapers form the sources of data collection. Results and Discussion- Hand washing is one of the preventive measures against EVD. This hand washing involves the use of water and soap. Conversely, hand washing can be very difficult in some areas in Nigeria where there is not even enough water for drinking. Many rural areas in Nigeria suffer from unavailability of clean water. In some remote areas, the people drink muddy water, water which is unfit for washing of dirty clothes. People in such a situation will not adhere to the rule of hand washing. Muddy water, on the other hand, is contaminated and its use for hand washing will only aggravate pathogens. Language is another barrier to the prevention of the disease since the information is disseminated in English and the three major languages of Nigeria - Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba - in a country that has about five hundred languages. This excludes the majority of Nigerians who are monolingual only in their language from the recent health awareness in the country. Conclusion-This paper calls for adequate provision of clean and treated water to Nigerians, and the dissemination of information on EVD in all Nigerian languages. Public health authorities in Nigeria should see to it that clean running water is provided in public places in Nigeria, particularly schools, churches, market places etc.
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