27 August 2014

From my inbox

I'm still preoccupied by trends in violence and will return to that soon enough, but this appeared in my inbox this morning and I can't help but share:

No touching of dead antelope or snogging of live gorillas - check!

You do have to admit to being a bit impressed - within a day or so of two confirmed cases 1000km away, the local MoH is already papering the town in preventative literature. If you had to pick a massively underdeveloped and conflict-torn country in which to sit out an Ebola outbreak, Congo would be a pretty solid choice. After all, they've been dealing with it since the 1970s. As our staff doctor noted in a 'let's not panic, people' presentation to the staff this morning, Ebola was discovered in Equateur Province (that's where the confirmed cases are). It was even named for a local river. I did think he was getting a bit cheeky when he suggested it would be stranger if there weren't a handful of active cases there, but his point was well taken.

Even so, the staff has mostly opted to cease greeting one another with a hand shake or head tap (have I mentioned how the Congolese tap temples - left, right, left - as a particularly affectionate greeting? It's rather like a very aggressive bis). Instead, we've been tapping our feet. I'm unconvinced about the efficacy of this as a preventative measure, especially after we'd all been sitting shoulder to shoulder and singing in one another's faces, but it seems to amuse the staff, so what the hell. Foot taps for everyone!