The growing numbers of Ebola cases and deaths created an alarming situation not only in the greatly affected areas in West Africa, but to other parts of the world, including the Philippines, as well.
Though the Department of Health or DOH said that the Philippines is ready if a case of Ebola virus disease emerge in the country, doubts still arises for some since the severity of the disease in other countries can’t be controlled because of the unavailability of the medicine for Ebola.
The Philippines is susceptible to Ebola virus since we are a country with millions of migrants to almost all parts of the world with our overseas Filipino workers or OFWs. This is also what World Health Organization (WHO) executive director Ian Smith said at the WHO Western Pacific regional committee meeting held in Pasay City.
Smith said that the Philippines is vulnerable to the importation of disease whether it be the Middle East respiratory syndrome corona virus or the more deeply feared Ebola virus disease because of the large number of Filipino migrant workers all over the world.
Out of the ten million Filipinos that are working and living abroad, two thousand Filipinos are in West Africa Ebola-hit countries like Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea.
According to WHO data, from the 8,400 Ebola cases in seven countries, half of it or 4,000 people have died from the disease.
So, is the Philippines ready in case of an Ebola outbreak? We may not know yet, but we all know that the country is not up-to-date in terms of medical equipment and technology. What we could all do is the practice of proper hygiene and cleanliness in our own surroundings.
But despite of the fact that the Philippines is behind when it comes to technology, we Filipinos are known to be fighters and survivors. Filipinos have experienced many natural calamities and tragedies that have caused devastation to each of them. But still, Filipinos learned to move on and continue with their lives. Other countries that have been hit with many cases of diseases like SARS, MERS-CoV, meningococcemia, and AH1N1 failed to lessen casualties even with their modern technology and breakthroughs in medicines. But the Philippines is merely affected by these deadly diseases.
Awareness of the facts about the Ebola virus disease will give Filipinos, especially OFWs abroad, how this disease is acquired and how to prevent being infected with it. Knowledge of the Ebola virus will guide Filipinos on what should and what shouldn’t be done so as not to be infected not only themselves but their loved ones as well. As they say, prevention is better than cure.