Early in the West African Ebola outbreak in 2014, an angry mob attacked a treatment centre in Guinea run by Medicins Sans Frontieres. MSF was as startled as everyone else: why would people attack the very doctors who were trying to save them?
That wasn’t the only incident. All over the Ebola region — Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia — people refused to co-operate with doctors and nurses. People with Ebola symptoms were hidden by their families; if they did go to treatment centres, they sometimes escaped. Countless people said Ebola was a hoax, or a Western plot to kill Africans.