Ebola Outbreak in West Africa 22 Months on: Key Issues for Recovery and Preparedness
Created: 14/04/2016 +

Overview

Since the Ebola epidemic started it has killed at least 11,295 people, out of at least 28,295 reported confirmed, probable, and suspected cases. It began in Guinea in December 2013 and rapidly spread to neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia.

All three countries were highly vulnerable to external shocks before the crisis, and still are today, due to a combination of low socioeconomic indicators, high risks of natural hazards, and a history of poor governance and political violence. Chronic poverty and weaknesses in public services greatly contributed to the rapid spread of the Ebola epidemic, its scale and severity. The epidemic not only caused severe health issues, including high levels of psychological trauma among communities, it also further weakened health systems, and impacted food security and livelihoods.

As of 5 October 2015, the transmission of the virus has been confined to several small areas in Guinea and Sierra Leone; reported incidence has remained below 10 cases per week since the end of July this year. While surveillance and treatment efforts to stop the transmission and re-emergence of Ebola continue, the response is moving away from its emergency phase towards longer-term recovery and building a more resilient health system.