Indeed a relaxation of development effort could be

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the fight against the epidemic. Indeed, a relaxation of development effort could be highly detrimental to recovery once the epidemic has been brought under control. Since the discovery of the first EVD case in Guinea in December 2013, the United Nations System has responded strongly to support the affected countries to fight the disease. Moreover, the declaration by the WHO that the EVD was “a public health emergency of international concern” and the United Nations Security Council’s declaration that EVD in West Africa was a “threat to international peace and security” substantially reinforced the global partnership on the crisis. The UN agencies have helped in estimating the direct and indirect costs of the pandemic, which has provided some operational guidance to countries. For instance, in August 2014, the WHO estimated that it would cost roughly US$500 million to contain the outbreak by January 2015. It also estimated the unit cost of testing one person for Ebola at US$244. For every reported case, health workers need to trace at least ten people whom the patient may have contacted, which costs around US$225 per person. When infected individuals die, their bodies must be safely buried and their households sanitized without workers risking infection, which costs US$404. Hence, given the reported 20,381 cases and 7,889 deaths in early January 2015 across the three affected countries, the estimated, partial direct cost of the epidemic is currently around US$50 million. However, as the cost of treating patients is difficult to ascertain and varied, the total direct cost is difficult to estimate. The United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), established to utilize the assets of all relevant UN agencies in addressing the health and broader social impacts of the outbreak, also estimated that the UN response would cost around US$1.0 billion (see Table 5), around half of which would be aimed at addressing health impacts. OCHA, using the Inter-Agency Response Plan for Ebola Virus Outbreak, specified the overall needs and requirements (ONR) of US$1.5 billion. As of December 8, nearly two thirds of this amount had been met through response plan funding. The revised ONR, covering October 2014 to June 2015, is estimated at US$2.27 billion. 23 According to ECA (2014), the contributions of multilateral organizations and bilateral partners may far exceed the initial financial requirement, even if only a small amount of the pledged amount has been disbursed. Most UN agencies have reprogrammed their interventions in the epicentre countries because of the outbreak. Their new prioritization includes: communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, and issues dealing with women’s health, polio and emergency response (WHO); using school meals programmes to support quarantine households, relief and recovery operations, emergency food assistance and support for 23 This includes US$1.5 billion from October 2014 to March 2015 (initial ONR requirements) and $0.768 billion for April to June 2015 of the US$1.536 billion. See OCHA (2015), available at: .
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