Conclusions and policy recommendations undp donated

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Conclusions and policy recommendations UNDP donated hygiene kits to civil society leaders in Nzérékoré, Guinea for community mobilization and engagement. Photo by UNDP Guinea
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69 5. Conclusions and policy recommendations This report is unique. Unlike previous studies that focused on the three epicentre countries and provided aggregate estimates, this is the first report to undertake an assessment of the EVD for each of the 15 West African countries. It is also the first to assess the socio-economic impacts of the EVD on poverty incidence and food security at the country level. In addition, the estimation approach, which allows for consistency checks, is also different from that of other studies. The EVD outbreak in West Africa is highly intense, virulent, complex and challenging. As of 28 December 2014, there were 20,081 confirmed cases and 7,842 deaths as a result of this disease. The basic reproductive number of 2.5 is the highest ever in the history of EVD globally. Its dimension is more complicated by health workers becoming infected and by the occurrence of a different strain of EVD in the DRC (WHO, 2014). It also impacts on the human rights situation in the region, with significant negative effects on social, cultural, and economic rights of affected populations. A combination of factors – ignorance, lack of preparedness of the health system, and fear and distrust – contributed to the rapid spread of EVD. First, all three countries have recently emerged from civil conflicts or political instability that resulted in countless deaths, economic crises, and a severe deterioration in physical infrastructure and social conditions. Second, health professionals are unfamiliar with the disease, particularly since the symptoms resemble those of other diseases that are endemic in the region. Third, the paucity of knowledge on the disease, combined with the fear produced by the epidemic, delayed the implementation of simple interventions to prevent deaths. Fourth, the health systems in the region were unprepared for Ebola at the outset of the epidemic. They lacked sufficient amounts of all that is required to contain the epidemic: drugs, ambulances, facilities and trained health personnel, and medical facilities are inequitably distributed between rural and urban areas, thereby limiting access to basic health services in remote areas. Fifth, the fear of being quarantined or being infected at the health centres has discouraged both testing and treatment. And finally, the long-standing cultural practices that people were understandably reluctant to abandon also helped spread the infection. Women are heavily affected by the EVD. In Guinea, the epidemic affects more women than men, a disparity that could be explained by their role within the family as the primary caregivers to the sick, which rendered them more vulnerable. The regional disparity is more pronounced: in Gueckédou 62 percent of the infected people are women and in Télémilé, 74 percent. When Ebola struck Liberia in August, the proportion of births supervised by a
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  • Fall '19
  • West Africa

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