The world is obviously a democratic environment where major decisions made by governments are decided by the people. Originally a Western philosophy, most governments around the world have come to value the model in order to be accepted into the family of the global community. This is obviously good for business from Asia, through Africa, the Middle East and South America.
When a crisis hits, however, does democracy really still hold sway? I’m neither a virologist or pathologist, but we have seen them all: Ebola, Zika, SARS, MERS and now COVID-19 in different guises but wreaking the same havoc along their trail. What lessons have we learnt over the years?
Whatever happened to the narrative of “prevention is better than cure”? A good prospect if Plan A was the only option. What happens in a “what if situation” is less clear.
Wash your hands: The Global Soap Project
OK let’s have a read of what I had to say about containment of a pandemic that occurred not too long ago ravaging especially West Africa.
In my 2016 article The business of saving lives in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) – a socialimperative? Insights from “The Global Soap Project” I relied on a single case study of The Global Soap Project, a social enterprise founded by an African Immigrant resident in the US, to posit how lives could be saved in Sub-Saharan Africa in light of the Ebola pandemic that ravaged swathes of West African communities.
In that article I pointed out that:
“The Global Soap Project has much to offer in terms of “saving lives” in these communities, as the battle against the Ebola virus calls for containment measures.”
I went on to argue that our understanding of the role of social entrepreneurship in complementing community efforts in coping with pandemics such as the Ebola virus was expedient.
Prevention, Containment, and Cure
When is the world going to wake up to Plan A?
As for prevention, this is the obvious Plan A. It raises the question – where do these viruses come from? How can we root them out at source? We all know they are somewhere in the food chain, but perhaps the instinct of business constrains taking action.
As for Plan B (i.e. containment), while vaccines are being fast-tracked, the spread of the virus can be curtailed through personal hygiene, and the study case demonstrates how social enterprises can be leveraged at the community, national, regional and global levels.
Finally, perhaps there is a need for a Plan C? Isn’t really a shame that we have supercomputers, AI, robotics and more scientific breakthroughs than we can document, but a virus very similar to what we have been exposed to in the past, is not only locking down our homes, schools, communities, countries and the world?
COVID-19 Deja vu? Here I am just reflecting on the business of saving lives and where the world got it all wrong.