Cindy Emefa Coffee ’16 Pursues Research in Ghana Despite Ebola Outbreak

August 13, 2014

Wellesley Student Featured in Boston Globe Front Page Story

Cindy Coffee '16

As the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history continues in West Africa, students across the United States are left to make decisions about whether to move forward with research trips planned for the region. Cindy Emefa Coffee ’16 is among a small group of students from several area colleges who chose to go forward with plans to study in Africa despite the outbreak. Coffee spoke with the Boston Globe about her decision to go.

Coffee, an architecture major, is working in Ghana exploring ways to turn organic waste into animal feed. Although no Ebola cases have been reported in Ghana, the country is just a few hours' drive from the affected region. Coffee told the Globe that she does have concerns, but does not regret going. The process she is studying could significantly aid one of the world’s poorest regions.

The outbreak, which began in March, has claimed more than a thousand lives to date and there are fears about the disease continuing to spread. Coffee told the Globe she is taking precautions to protect herself from exposure.

Donna Patterson, assistant professor of Africana studies and Coffee’s adviser, told the Globe that people are right to have concerns about Ebola spreading to Ghana. “The borders are so porous, and people can continue to move,” she said. In a recent piece for the Huffington Post, Patterson proposed a solution for curbing the spread of Ebola: better public education programs.

“To respond to the growing rates of infection, citizens of the countries affected by Ebola need to be educated and approached in culturally relevant ways,” Patterson wrote.

Read Coffee’s story, “Ebola worry curtails student travel plans,” in the Boston Globe and Patterson’s post, “Better Public Education Programs Could Help Stop the Spread of Ebola,” on the Huffington Post.

 

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