Ebola in West Africa: Impact on Health Systems
Created: 14/04/2016 +

Overview

The reported cumulative number of Ebola cases across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone is 23,694, including 9,589 deaths as of 22 February, making it the largest EVD outbreak ever recorded. Incidence has been stabilising in all three countries since January 2015, and the response is moving towards early recovery.

The large number of Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases has overwhelmed the weak and under-resourced health systems in the three most affected countries. Scarce resources have been diverted to the Ebola response, and health facilities have been temporarily closed or reduced operations.

The lack of monitoring and surveillance for diseases other than Ebola has led to big gaps in information. Little information is available on other health problems, including potential disease outbreaks, access to treatment for HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis, the burden of malaria, and access to maternal health services, immunisations and medication.

 Fear of contracting EVD and mistrust of the health system has made people reluctant to seek treatment from health facilities, further impacting the health sector and increasing the risk of mortality and morbidity from otherwise treatable diseases.