Even at the community level the stigmatization of

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made containment difficult in many communities. Even at the community level, the stigmatization of survivors of the EVD violates their right to equality and non-discrimination (OHCHR, 2015). The wide geographical dispersion of the EVD overwhelmed the capacity of the health personnel. This sometimes caused exhaustion among health workers, another source of exposure. The high number of infections and fatalities among health personnel encouraged the perception that “hospitals were places of contagion and death”. In Guinea, for instance, 90 of the 153 infected health workers died, and in Liberia 79 of 152 died. Most of infections between October and December in Guinea, for instance, occurred in non-EVD centres. As a result, the patronage of traditional healers and self-medication became the preferred options in these countries. The difficulty of coordinating aid (medical, food-related, etc.) and of treating infected patients using existing infrastructures is another impediment. Instead of working with national authorities to ensure effective coordination of the response action, many development partners and donors engaged in duplicative and competitive activities, including the establishment of the cluster systems in Liberia and Sierra Leone. This, to some extent, weakened government leadership. This poses some questions. How, in the context of an acute health crisis, can government authorities be enabled to assert their leadership? What role should UN agencies play in order to allow national governments to express greater leadership in managing the crisis? Should UN agencies rethink their role in the context of a crisis that widely exceeds a national context? Is it conceivable and desirable for regional and sub-regional authorities to assume greater responsibility in carrying out related actions? Indeed, how can other countries in the region, which are not directly affected by the epidemic but face its looming risks and consequences, contribute to solving the problem? What would their mandate be? The answers to these questions would ensure effective coordination. SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACT OF EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE IN WEST AFRICAN COUNTRIES
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21 The United Nations aims to address these issues through the formation of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) and the recent directive of the UN Secretary- General on coordination of the early recovery response actions. The fact that the average number of daily cases is falling in countries such as Guinea and Liberia does not imply that the international community should relax. It fell in Guinea between June and August but became intense between September 2014 and January 2015. Any unattended new case could spur a localized epidemic. Enhanced awareness campaigns are still needed in all countries. Stigmatization is still an issue. Findings from the recent exploratory mission of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) to Bong county (Liberia) prove illuminating: “MSF found that people who had been in contact with the sick were fleeing into the bush so as not to be
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  • Fall '19
  • West Africa

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