Observation: More Women Are Dying of Ebola

The horrors of the Ebola outbreak do not seem like they are going to be easily abated. Long-standing traditions, social norms, and the strained relationships that have developed between the people and the foreign healthcare workers provide a deadly combination standing as obstacle in the way of the combat against the disease.

Ebola outbreak

55 – 60 % of those who died of Ebola are women

The Ebola virus continues to spread across West Africa, now having infiltrated into the systems of around 1552 people since the nightmare began in May 2014. Experts have said that if this trend were to continue, ultimately, as many as 20 000 people might fall prey to the deadly pathogen. Of these victims, females tend to constitute a greater proportion. What is making women more inclined to contracting the Ebola virus?

UNICEF has theorised that more women are being infected than men because they are the ones who care for their sick family members, as the social tradition goes that females are to execute the role of serving their family as healthcare providers. This social norm has thus had considerable impact on the statistics – 55 to 60 % of those who met with death after having been infected by the virus are women. Experts also added that the figures might be greater than this in reality. In Liberia, three quarter of the victims are women.

The African women are not only caring for the sick but they are also the ones to prepare for funerals, which is yet another factor causing more and more women being ultimately infected.

Why is the outbreak not dying out?

West Africa is being plagued by such diseases because of the reluctance of the men and women to seek medical help. Medical caregivers working in the countries have attested that the people are still clinging to the long-standing tradition of taking care of the sick in their own respective homes. The health state of the people is thus not improved because they are unwilling to have the proper treatment.

Moreover, when they prefer to stay at home, it is their own women who have to shoulder the responsibility of taking care of them; women will easily handle the sick men, while the reverse does not happen, thereby causing the females to be more exposed to the risk of contracting the virus.

Furthermore, according to the foreign workers, the relationships between the people and them have grown quite tense and strained because of the clash resulting from the above-mentioned problems.

Getting rid of the obstacles?

If these social barriers could be broken, allowing the people to shift from their current mindset, the epidemic will be easier to deal with, according to those working in the affected countries. However, the strained relationships add up to the problem which thereafter becomes even more complicated. Healthcare workers often do not take into consideration the long-lasting traditions of the people, thereby making the latter even more repelled to seek medical attention. Another aspect of the problem solving would imply the mending of these relationships.

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