Distrust lingers in wake of Ebola

Misuse of power further decreases the trust in the Sierra Leonean and Liberian governments, NAI researcher Mats Utas says. He was interviewed by Swedish Radio in their Ebola special.

Social anthropologist Mats Utas, medical doctors Johan von Schreeb and Johanna Linder, and the Liberian nurse Emmy Subah among others answered questions about Ebola in the three-hour long Ebola broadcast. This live blog (opens in a new window) contains all the questions from the audience in Swedish.

Camila Astorga Diaz and Simon Rosenqvist hosted the show.

What are the consequences of the fact that people don’t trust each other, as we’ve heard in the program?

"It’s a real problem. These states really have to deal with it in order to function properly. They do not deliver that much to their citizens and the tiny elite grab what they want, especially in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Thus, people don’t trust someone and try to explain things in other ways", Mats Utas says.

Have people developed more trust in the authorities?

"Initially, most people hadn’t heard Ebola already was present in the region. It was a difficult task to spread the information about such a deadly virus that nobody thought existed. The popular trust in the Liberian government has decreased even further in recent months."

"On the other hand, Sierra Leone has tried to boost its image in the eyes of ordinary people. But there is still distrust. There is a now a case in Sierra Leone where a journalist has been arrested during state of emergency. The journalist most likely had nothing to do with Ebola, but the virus was used as a pretext for arresting him. Therefore people don’t believe what the government is saying", Mats Utas adds.

The interview in Swedish starts at 1:48:45.

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