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14 For more information on this and the implications on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, see . WHO (2015a), however, reports that, as at December 2014, there were about 30,000 orphans in the three epicentre countries. 15 The story of Moses, a child-survivor from Liberia, reported by Save the Children, provides a vivid illustration of how children were affected by the EVD. . After being kept closed for three months due to the Ebola outbreak, schools across Guinea reopened on 19 January 2015. Photo by UNMEER/Martine Perret SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACT OF EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE IN WEST AFRICAN COUNTRIES
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26 The EVD is reversing the gains made on the MDGs in the epicentre countries. Liberia provides a vivid example of this. When Liberia emerged from decades of civil war in 2003, the under-five child mortality rate stood at 110 per 1,000 live births. Due to efforts of the Government and its partners, it fell to 75 per 1,000 live births by 2012. The total disruption of the country’s health system has made children more vulnerable. Children are once again dying from measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases. In addition to the endemic disease in the region that kills children, about 20 percent of the total EVD classified into age groups are children (figure 10). Sierra Leone had the highest number of children EVD cases (21.4 percent), followed by Liberia (18.6 percent) and Guinea (15.9 percent). The closure of schools is a great loss to children in terms of cognitive learning. All the schools in the three epicentre countries have been closed since June 2014. Guinea re-opened all its schools on 19 January 2015, while Liberia reopened its primary and secondary schools on 16 February 2015 and tertiary institutions on 4 March 2014. In Sierra Leone, all schools will be reopened in March 2015. The total number of learning hours lost to school closures range from 486 in Guinea to 780 in Sierra Leone (figure 11). The closure of schools might also have exposed children to several types of child abuse (including sexual exploitation and violence against young girls) with a long-term impact. The re-opening of schools should be complemented with back-to-school programmes that focus on teacher training on school safety, hygiene education and school sanitation as well as psychosocial care. Figure 11: No. of learning hours lost due to school closures due to the Ebola virus disease Source: Authors’ compilation. Total Sierra Leone Liberia Guinea 1,848 780 582 486 SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACT OF EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE IN WEST AFRICAN COUNTRIES
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27 2.3 Regional and continental responses The containment of the epidemic is beyond the capacity of a single country. Complementary actions from sub-regional, regional, continental and global bodies are important for maximum success. It is in recognition of this that the Mano River Union (MRU) and ECOWAS initiated collaborative and solidarity approaches to dealing with the outbreak.
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