Get well Dr. Craig Spencer. By Yilma Bekele

October 26th, 2014 Print Print Email Email

What kind of place would the world be without people like Dr. Craig Spencer? Dr. Spencer is the medical doctor that is currently in New York Hospital with symptoms of the Ebola virus. Before his privacy was breached and his name associated with the dreaded virus Dr. Spencer was an International Emergency Medical (IEM) fellow at Columbia University in New York.

According to his Profile in Emergency Physicians International, Dr. Spencer is a tireless advocate of introducing modern medical practices in Africa and is dedicated to helping local health providers get knowledge so they can help their people better. In May he was in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi helping Doctors and sharing his knowledge. Dr. Spencer is quoted to have said ‘sometimes even aspirin just weren’t available’

A University of Columbia educated medical doctor is someone we would refer to as a high achiever. It is a result of dedication, drive and plenty of sweat. It opens the door for whatever the individual feels is important in his/her life. Dr. Spencer choose to help those that are less fortunate and make his mark in life in a quiet way.

That is the reason he travelled to Guinea as part of Doctors without Borders team to treat Ebola patients and was back in Ney York October 17. Today our friend is in isolation getting the best treatment possible to overcome this virus that is killing Africans in the thousands. There is no question he would come out of this a better and stronger person for the prayer of all Africans is with this angel of a human being that showed up when we needed him most.

As an Ethiopian I feel kinship with the good doctor. I am more energized when I see such a human being that cares for those that are unable to help themselves due to different circumstances we all face in life. I envy his dedication and I promise myself to double my efforts to help the less fortunate.

My people face the same enemy like the Ebola virus. I am not trying to belittle the human catastrophe that is being faced by our African brothers and sisters. There is a saying in my country and it goes for a child whose mother has died or went to the market would cry the same, since the immediate absence is what matters. Our brethren in West Africa are dying in droves and the family is being decimated.

In our case for the last twenty years we have been dying a slow death in so many ways. Some are faced with lack of basic nutrition to sustain life and it is called famine. A lot are faced with the absence of hope and the constant dread of not knowing what tomorrow would bring. That results in untold mental anguish. Families fret because their children are left to roam the streets for lack of anything worthwhile to do. The little girls are forced to sell their body using the cover of darkness. The boys are left to poison their mind and body with drugs to numb the spirit caused by boredom and lack of drive.

Families are forced to sell their valuable cattle, personal belongings to send their children to the Middle East hoping they will be able to make something for themselves. A very minuscule achieve that goal while the vast majority suffer in silence unable to return due to shame and but forced to stay by unscrupulous Arab slave owners.

Yes it is true Ebola is fast and merciless. Watching the human toll in West Africa is a lesson in how fragile the human existence is. The whole world is in shock but a few dedicated individuals like Dr. Spencer rush to where danger awaits and offer their services. There was no financial gain, no fame and no recognition awaiting but he did what he thought has to be done because it was in his power to do.

The starvation for freedom and human dignity is an important cause in our country that should be put on an emergency footing. Physical death is not the only form of dying. Denying a human being to experience life to its fullest, muzzling his freedom not to dream and achieve and condemning his family to live a wretched life is a form administering a slow death. We need human beings like Dr. Spencer that feel the pain of others and dedicate themselves to offer relief.

We Africans wish Dr. Craig Spencer a fast recovery and a happy reunion with the ones he love.

  1. Andaregachew
    | #1

    “In sharp contrast with that devastating poverty, Ethiopia is now widely considered to be one of a pack of “African tigers”, with ambitious plans to become a middle-income country by 2025. The nation has, “like the proverbial phoenix, managed to rise from the ashes to become Africa’s fastest-growing non-energy-driven economy”, The guardian October 2014.
    “In our case for the last twenty years we have been dying a slow death in so many ways. Some are faced with lack of basic nutrition to sustain life and it is called famine.” Yilma Bekele G7 member/supporter
    Which one of the above is distorted information?I would say the second one since as opposition party member/supporter he has some ground to provide us distorted information.In addition the guardian appreciate Ethiopia economically but criticize on human right issue so it seems fair and balance.

  2. Dawi
    | #2

    That is a nice piece on the Dr.

    As you may have read, Ban Ki-moon said:

    “We need a 20-fold resource mobilisation,” he said. “We need at least a 20-fold surge in assistance – mobile laboratories, vehicles, helicopters, protective equipment, trained medical personnel, and medevac capacities.”

    Guess who is providing the most help as a nation as we speak? Not Europe or North America but….

    “.. a nation of 11 million people, with a GDP of $6,051 per capita, is leading the effort says much of the international response. A brigade of 165 Cuban health workers arrived in Sierra Leone last week, the first batch of a total of 461. In sharp contrast, western governments have appeared more focused on stopping the epidemic at their borders than actually stemming it in west Africa..”

    Who else?

    Ethiopia is about to do the same thing.

    “..Government of Ethiopia is ready to deploy a volunteer health professionals mission of 200 to West Africa along with a financial support of ETB 10 million (USD 500,000). The professional Mission comprises of medical doctors, nurses, field epidemiologists,environmental health professionals and public health specialists…”

  3. Uncle Tom
    | #3

    Yilma Bekele writes:

    “What kind of place would the world be without people like Dr. Craig Spencer? ”

    ” In our case for the last twenty years we have been dying a slow death in so many ways. Some are faced with lack of basic nutrition to sustain life and it is called famine.”

    ” The starvation for freedom ”

    ” My people face the same enemy like the Ebola virus.”

    ” We Africans wish  …”

    the writer is the perfect example of an uncle tom. What a shame to hear this writer say i am Ethiopian.
    And he should better speak for himself, no Ethiopian and for sure no African elected him to be their spokesperson. This kind of mindset, this kind of narrative is the exact opposite of what Ethiopians should have and tell.
    The whole narrative is aimed at making USA and the whites look better than they really are at the expense of Africans and Ethiopia. Look how this guy tries to belittle and stereotype Ethiopia.
    This guy writes “my people face the same enemy like the Ebola virus”, but doesn’t add that the present conditions in Ethiopia are a result of a USA imposed TPLF regime. This guy doesn’t also talk about reasonable suspicions that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was caused by the US, a suspicion widely reported in West Africa.
    It seems his article was aimed at letting Americans feel good about themselves at the expense of Africa and the truth.
    If this guy really cared about Africans he would have let the Americans feel ashamed of themselves for having supported many US administrations to commit those crimes on Africans.
    All in all Ethiopians with such uncle tom mentality will face serious problems in the future.

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