Feb 23, 2009, 8:43 AM
A book entitled “The Ebola Outbreak in West Africa” was yesterday launched in The Gambia at a ceremony held at Timbooktoo Bookshop on Garba Jahumpa Road ,Bakau.
The book was authored by Chernoh Alpha M. Bah, an award-winning journalist and advocate for socialism in West Africa, who is also the Chairman of the African Socialist Movement (ASM) in Sierra Leone.
Speaking at a press conference, Mr Bah, who also authored a book entitled “Neocolonialism in West Africa” in 2014, explained the contents of the book and the reason for authoring it.
He said his latest book “The Ebola Outbreak in West Africa: Corporate Gangsters, Multinationals and Rogue Politicians” challenges the dominant western narrative on the origin and transmission story of the outbreak.
He said the world was told the outbreak started from Guinea in a little village that had not more than 30 houses, and that a two-year old boy participated in the hunting and grilling of a bat which they believed transmitted the said virus to the child, who eventually transmitted it to his other family members.
He noted that the scientist who advanced the narrative came from a prominent German institution, adding that the report produced by that group of scientists dominated the discussion around the origin of the outbreak and how it was spread.
Interestingly, he added, it was found uncomfortable in the narrative and many people in West Africa were not convinced that the virus had come from animals in their surroundings.
Mr Bah said, he personally travelled across West Africa mainly in the epicentres of the Ebola outbreak in the Mano River Union of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, to examine what exactly had happened.
He was able to interview nearly 3,000 people, including individuals identified as Ebola survivors, people stationed in treatment centres, people whose family members had died, doctors, politicians and journalists in areas they claimed the virus started.
From the copious amount of facts gathered from the interviews he conducted, Mr Bah said he had used only 20 per cent of the information he gathered to produce the book.
Part of the object of the book, he noted, is to reconstruct the predominant narrative around the outbreak, “which is completely false”.
Mr Bah pointed out that there was no clinical evidence to support the narrative on the origin of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa by the German and western scientists, who authored the dominant western narrative on the origin of Ebola in the sub-region.
Based on the evidence he has, Bah said what those authors and narratives did was not an error, but “part of a deliberate international act to cover up the historical chain of events that actually laid the foundation for the outbreak”.
He also said the available medical records of the child at the community health clinic strongly stated that “the child was diagnosed with active malaria”.
He added that the child’s birth certificate indicated that the child was 18-months old and, therefore, questioned how such a child could participate in the hunting and grilling of a bat.
“Also ignored by scientists and journalists are the circumstances that surrounded the death of the child and his mother and the survival of his father,” he said, adding that if they had died of Ebola the doctor that treated them would have also died, because no one knew of the preventive methods at the time.
“The doctor had not fallen sick and is still alive up to today,” he said, adding: “The book calls for an independent investigation into the circumstance of the outbreak.”
The book - “The Ebola Outbreak in West Africa: Corporate Gangsters, Multinationals and Rogue Politicians” is also being sold at Timbooktoo Bookshop on Garba Jahumpa Road.