“The west is not to blame, the solution is within ourselves”. – Journalist Ade Deramy speaking at the debate on 1st December.
With the topic of the Ebola virus omnipresent in the media, MedSoc Infectious Diseases, Global Health and Debate subsections ran a highly anticipated debate with the motion being ‘This House blames the West for the expansion of the Ebola epidemic’. Working in conjunction with UCL Debate Society, the event was well received, with the speakers raising some pioneering points and bringing fascinating new perspectives from their respective fields on how the west had been dealing with the crisis. Speaking in proposition and raising points about the lack of investment in a vaccine for the virus were Ilan Kelman, from the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, and Jonathan Meldrum, an PhD student from UCL. Arguing in opposition, and stating that the remedies for the problem are within the African countries themselves and blaming inefficient deployment of resources as opposed to Western influence, were journalist Ade Deramy and third year UCL Medic Kirtana Vallabhaneni. Kirtana
also helped to organise the event as Section Chair of Debate for Medsoc. The controversial motion sparked many opinions which were shared in a heated floor speeches, with members of the audience arguing both in favour of and opposing the motion and also some choosing to abstain from the argument. Second year medical student Thamani Mazhani won the ‘Best Floor Speech’ prize with an impassioned argument about African resources being overlooked in the fight against Ebola, and supporting the opposition in arguing that containing the outbreak should be managed by the African nations. The opposition won the debate, with the majority of the floor choosing to abstain from the motion. It was a great event with strong performances from all speakers that evening!
Vignesh Gopalan, ID committee