Monday, November 30, 2009

Pork Show in Ghana - the swine are safe! Only foreigners have the flu...

Luckily Ghana has escaped the epidemic numbers of H1N1 cases so far. In fact most of Sub-Saharan Africa has very few cases (apart from South Africa). It’s just as well, with the lack of adequate healthcare and access to clinics, medication etc.

According to the World Health Organization, Ghana has only 18 reported cases of confirmed swine flu. ALL of these are from the International School that my son attends. He is one of the 18.

The Ghana Health Service took the whole thing quite seriously and closed the school down for over a week. They even made it front page news!

Meanwhile behind the scenes, in our case, the GHS didn’t bother to call us nor provide Tamiflu. Luckily, my son’s case was really mild. By the time we had the results of his tests back (2 days after the test), his symptoms were gone.

Also not so sure how contagious this virus is, since the rest of us in the house didn’t get a sniffle…

But I digress.

The fact that Ghana (except for a few privileged International students) has escaped the worst of the H1N1 strain, does not mean that Ghanaians are oblivious to the global hype.

In fact, the pork farmers and the roadside sellers here know all too well how rumours can ruin an industry.

This weekend, while at a Christmas bazaar in the 35 degree heat of Accra, I happened upon THIS:

What cracked me up – besides EVERYTHING – was the way they chose to 'get the message across' – pork is safe (i.e. cool – notice the cartoon pig with black shades), in contrast with the whole dead, cooked pig, nose burnt to a charred crisp, with pineapples for eyes!!! Gotta love Ghana.

Also, I think we have a logo copyright issue – notice the sponsors listed in the lower right side of the banner…
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mpanyinsem said...

That's totally false. I was diagnosed with the flu on saturday, and i haven't been on a plane since March...i had to pull a few tough strings to get tested; happens an uncle of mine is a virologist at nogouchi. As for the hospitals, tell your doc u suspect u have swine flu, and he'll tell u u have malaria. Or he'll remind u that it's the weather, with the impending harmattan and all. I suspect i got it from my neighbor whose brother returned after a year of in florida. Looks to me like the whole neighborhood is sick, but i realsie swine flu is not as serious as malaria. At least, for us Africans. We've seen worse, only, the gov't shd stop kidding themselves that only 18 have got it. Honestly, it's in the thousands; they just haven't been tested. We'll live.

Cate P said...

Glad you're all healthy, we've had our own scares here, certainly nobody seems sheltered from it....but I guess the trick to eating pork is you see the pig while it's still alive, and if it's wearing sunglasses, it's okay to kill and eat?
Because as every movie and rock star knows, sunglasses will protect you from everything.

Joshua said...

Really glad you all are safe, and glad the mini-you is better. My neighbor's 1-year-old was diagnosed the day after he was over at my house with my then 3 month old. The wife lost her mind for a bit there.

I'm so glad I don't eat meat.


Michelloui said...

That poster is hilarious--yeah, I too like the pig with shades!

And thanks for stopping by my blog--I shall enjoy stopping by here from now on. :)

Darcy said...

so glad your son is o.k!
when someone gets the flu here everyone screams h1n1, it's crazed.

Zoe said...

This reminds me of a sticker I saw in a taxi cab in Tamale that had a graphic of a chicken with a tie. I seem to recall it having something to do with Bird Flu, but I can't for the life of me remember what the text said. I do, however, remember laughing very hard.

Maya Mame said...

Glad your son's ok, it is surprising how few cases are reported here, but I agree with others that there may be a huge difference between reported and actual cases.

By the way, happy belated birthday my fellow November Sagittarean! We're a rare breed, lol!

Maya Mame said...

...and what are the Golden Arches representing here?

The pale observer said...

Those Golden Arches are McJones Meat company!!!

enyonam said...

Wow!!Gotta love the pork with the shades though... Innovative advertising.... lol!!!

I must say that I'm glad that your son is ok..

tiny empress said...

Yeah, seeing the logos at the bottom, I had a scare. No MacDonalds in Ghana please. Glad to hear the logo's just been stolen! Haha!

Travel & Dive Girl said...

First let me say - "thanks" for stopping by my blog. Your blog is cool - I look forward to hearing more about your life in Ghana.

Glad your son is o.k. and I love that pig in the shades!

Land of shimp said...

Oh my goodness, I'm wonderfully amused by the very direct, and rather practical "And here he's the cool pig, cooked! Goooooo food chain!" There's just a very blunt approach to it that is wildly amusing. "Mr. Cool Porcine before, Mr. Cool Porcine after what was for him a really bad day, but should please you!"

We have ads here that have Burger King Burgers as a family unit, and Whopper Dad, telling Whopper Junior that he's selling himself for too little on the streets (not kidding).

Just what most of us want to think of when confronted with food advertising -- male teenage prostitutes??? I'm thinking someone got fired over that one.

I'm glad your son is well now, and that no one else was felled. May this continue to be the case, but every instance of swine flu I've heard of personally has been rather mild.

My husband had three coworkers that were diagnosed with Swine Flu, and had to stay home for a mandatory eight days. After three, they were all recovered and calling in to the office, complaining about how bored they were....where everyone had a raging cold that was practically killing them, and it sounded like a TB ward, but they did not have Swine Flu.

None of the family members of the Swine Flu victims caught it either. Although one man amusingly said, "Not that my wife stood a chance of catching it, the second she knew I was infected she practically went to live in the rafters of the attic to avoid me."

I'm hoping the Swine Flu epidemic remains primarily an non-event.

(Ways to tell that I've had too much coffee? I leave comments like this. Sorry.)

Miss Footloose said...

Go Ghanaian pigs! In Holland they call it the Mexican flu, so the pigs are safe and since nobody eats Mexicans, they are too.

Glad your son had a minor case! The scary part is that nobody knows how it will affect him or her.

The pale observer said...

Thanks for the well wishes for my boy!! I'm also glad it was a mild case. The day he was diagnosed, my mom called with the horror stories of healthy people his age who have died from it!!! Can you say worried?!

Everyone loves the pig!

Land of Shimp - I wish I could see the Burger King child prostitution ad!!! wow - I agree someone should have been fired over that.

Michael said...

Our 1 year old was diagnosed with H1N1 after 9 of the 11 two-year-olds in his day care were out earlier in the week. By day two, my son had bounced back as well.

As a fellow Canadian expat (albeit in Tokyo), I'm really enjoying your blog!

The pale observer said...

Thanks Michael!! Glad to hear your boy bounced back quick! It's the youngest and the oldest that are apparently most at risk.

I am going to check your blog too - assuming you have one?

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