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Management of Epidemic in Africa; should Science Seek the Help of Law?

Authors: Dennis Agelebe

Abstract: Preceding the introduction of institutionalized regulatory system, the relationship between science and law first satisfies the individual basis for existence before considering any room for collaboration. Meaning, at that time, the relationship was not collaborative. Both science and law were individually concerned with what each do and not what the other does.

This research article explores the science and law relationship in order to understand possible strains and identify
the underlying factors affecting epidemic management. Human health, as primary beneficiary of scientific inventions
and innovations has seen challenges that science alone has not been able to solve. Developed countries have better
structures for managing health issues, yet intervention of law, though obligatory, it’s still doing more to catch up with
evolving developments for the sake of protecting human health. Africa is a developing continent facing challenges in
managing epidemic. There has not been shortage of scientific inputs into how best to respond to sudden breakout of
epidemic, but there is lack of regulatory directive that is beyond the level of an administrative plan. The question of if
science is governed by its own laws and may not necessarily need a conventional law in certain situations such as epidemic
breakout is answered by examining the theoretical approach of scientific law as different from specific scientific
theory. While there are scholarly opinions from the comparison of their importance- for example, the assertion that
science is the best tool we have to understand the problem of the natural world, this research article steps forward to
assert that understanding alone does not produce the solution and if it does, administering the solution does not have
to rely on science alone. Study of the impact of science in responding to epidemic breakout without subjection to or in
collaboration with law is made by studying the Ebola crises in Africa; a comparative study of how Nigeria, Liberia and
Sierra Leone responded is presented here and the role of law identified, though there was no definite scientific solution
at that time. This helps in giving a concise view of the challenge scientific effort alone will face in a possible pandemic
situation like the coronavirus situation and the role of law.

Journal: The Journal of Health, Environment, & Education

Volume: 12

Pages: 23-30