An Atlanta radio host wants people to stop stigmatizing Africans over Ebola

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Marco Werman: Here in the US, Ebola is also impacting people’s lives. There’s still only one confirmed case of Ebola, the Liberian man currently fighting for his life in a Dallas hospital. But fear of the disease is impacting many others in African immigrant communities. I spoke with Hussein Mohamed, who hosts a radio show in Atlanta, Georgia. This program you host, Hussein, is called Sagal Radio. What’s been the discussion on the show lately? What are people calling in about? What do they want to know?


Hussein Mohamed: It’s mostly an educational radio program, Sagal Radio. That’s what we do. We educate people about the issue of Ebola, in case they see somebody - what to do. That’s the stuff we talk about it. It’s mostly educational, inviting guests, like a Somali doctor who knows more about Ebola, who are relying mostly on a CDC webpage. That’s what the discussion is about mostly.


Werman: Do you get people calling in with questions?


Mohamed: Yes, we do have some people call in to find out more about it.


Werman: What kind of questions are they asking about Ebola right now?


Mohamed: Mostly people are worried about what’s going to happen if their relative comes up with some kind of disease and what to do. The other day, one of the things that put me in a worried situation was I visited a local hospital and where they have a sign that talks about ‘If you are from Africa, in a state of West Africa or in a state of those only affected by Ebola,’ so this particular hospital, their sign to me turned me off a little bit.


Werman: How did it make you feel?


Mohamed: It made me feel like they’re targeting the whole continent. If you talk about all of Africa, Africa is like 58 countries. So, the only worry is really we don’t want to be discriminated because of this disease. Soon, if this keeps going on and people maybe are discriminated against when they go to school, if people are discriminated against when they enter the United States, if people are discriminated against when they come to hospitals and restaurants - we don’t want to be targeted, being African. There’s only 3 countries so far in West Africa that has a lot of Ebola cases.


Werman: Atlanta is the home to the CDC. What’s the mood in the city right now, as far as Ebola goes?


Mohamed: I really cannot talk about the whole city. I just talk about my little community. My little community is worried and I hope this disease won’t get to the other part of Africa and I just pray that the US government is leading all other countries. I hope they go and do something about Ebola. Like they fight every other kind of war, they should fight this war.


Werman: Are you confident that the United States government is fighting the Ebola war in the right way?


Mohamed: Well, the President of the United States came to Atlanta and the CDC, and that shows me that he’s very supportive of fighting this disease. I want the other organizations also to help out any way they can to fight this disease. In the United States, we’re worried. Everybody who came from Africa, they think they’ve got Ebola, right? So, let’s it over there and we won’t get it over here to begin with.


Werman: Finally, Sagal Radio, what does ‘Sagal’ mean, the word?


Mohamed: Sagal means the sunshine coming in the morning. It’s beautiful and usually it’s a beautiful girl’s name.


Werman: A name given to a girl.


Mohamed: Yes.


Werman: And Sagal is a Somali word?


Mohamed: Yes.


Werman: Well, I hope your program is bringing plenty of sunshine to the people of Atlanta because I’m sure they’re looking for it, especially in your community. Hussein Mohamed, the host of Sagal Radio in Atlanta, Georgia. Thank you.


Mohamed: You’re welcome.