The intensity and complexity of the outbreak in the

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unprecedented in scale and virulence. The intensity and complexity of the outbreak in the three countries makes it difficult for individual countries to handle, requiring a coordinated approach. The relatively free movement of goods and people in the region and close community ties, which make it very difficult to contain the outbreak as well as the limited internal capacity to cope with the outbreak in terms of human, financial, operational and logistics capacity calls for a regional dimension. If the outbreak of EVD is not addressed collectively, the start of the domestication and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in these countries and their neighbours will be put at risk. A regional approach provides an opportunity to raise awareness on the socio-economic impacts of Ebola at the regional level and in each of the 15 countries in West Africa. Analysis of the short- and medium-term costs of the Ebola epidemic should spur governments of non-affected countries to act quickly to put in place preventive measures. The 2014 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa is the longest, largest, deadliest, and the most complex in history. Unlike past outbreaks, which lasted for a very short time, this outbreak has lasted for more than a year – and has not yet fully abated. As of 11 February 2015, there were 22,859 EVD cases and a total of 9,162 deaths. Compared to the cumulative sum of past episodes in 32 years (1976-2012) – 2,232 infected people and 1,503 deaths – there are now over ten times the total number infection cases and over six times the total number of fatalities. In less than six months, what started as a public health crisis in Guinea had degenerated into development crises (i.e. economic, social, humanitarian and security threats) in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. In contrast with past outbreaks, which were mostly restricted to remote areas, the West African case is complex and geographically widespread, and involves small rural and large urban centres including Conakry, Monrovia, and Freetown. Due to the multi-country outbreaks occurring simultaneously, this pandemic is very difficult to contain. The infection of 830 health workers, of whom 488 died, further complicated its containment. This is the first time that the EVD has been transmitted to other countries through air travel. Several factors make the containment of the pandemic very difficult. The health systems in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone were unprepared for Ebola at the onset of the epidemic. They lacked sufficient amounts of all that is required to contain the epidemic: drugs, ambulances, facilities, trained health personnel, and many other items. Moreover, impoverished rural areas have more limited access to services than relatively well-off urban areas. The protracted civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and the intense political instability compounded the weak health and physical SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACT OF EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE IN WEST AFRICAN COUNTRIES
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iii infrastructure. The inequitable distribution of human and financial resources has hampered the response to the epidemic. Due to ignorance
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  • Fall '19
  • West Africa

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