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Millennium Post

Your dollars alone cannot save Africa

The Ebola epidemic has claimed hundreds of lives in African countries and the outbreak is getting scarier with foreign aid workers being evacuated from the affected regions for fear of falling prey to the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease.

As several international organisations, rich nations and charitable groups gear up to provide desperately needed resources to fight the epidemic, the absent doctors and volunteers are a reminder of the daunting practical obstacles. Many African health workers battling Ebola are contracting it themselves.

At least 170 workers have got the disease, according to the World Health Organisation, worse more than 80 have died. And this brings us to one of the most fundamental questions that donor countries must ask themselves. Why despite pumping in billions of dollars in African countries as aid money, the local population is finding it completely impossible to handle the monumental crisis on its own?
Nation building is not about providing everything on a platter.

When you are dealing with populations of countries and continents that is just not possible. People have to be empowered to build institutions and run them. Years of doling out money to these countries and the almost total lack of improvement that it has brought to lives of African people has shown us that the poor have not been able to pull themselves out of poverty, because the basic ability to do so has been denied to them.

This is not an argument for doing away with aid but rather a case for its effective and meaningful utilisation. The all pervasive poverty and the resultant lack of sanitation compounded by dearth of medical facilities make Africa the ideal spot for diseases turning into endemics and epidemics.

Imported health care will not help the situation. An African national was quoted as saying ‘Poverty is like living in jail, living under bondage, waiting to be free,’ by ‘Voices of the Poor’, a World Bank project. That wait must come to end. As aid doctors leavethe world must ask where are Africa’s own doctors?
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