By Angela Grant
AFRICA DISRUPTED: Ebola Cost Health, Food Economic Security & LIVES
The disease Ebola is still around, did you know?
Still deadly and wreaking havoc in West Africa, with a high fatality rate, it disrupted the economy, caused food insecurity and adverse health among the people of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Most recently an outbreak was declared, by the WHO (World Health Organization), in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ebola gained notoriety in 2014 when it scourged through West Africa and even caused the a few deaths non-Africans including Americans. About 11,000 people died in West Africa, where the fatality rate was was as high as 60-70%.
The US DoD responded swiftly after receiving billions to fight Ebola. Researchers and military personnel were deployed to fight Ebola. It was one of those rare moments where Cuba appeared to be the good guy, wanting to collaborate with the US in sending aide to West Africa. Cuba sent clinical doctors.
In April this year, a 39 year old man was admitted to a health facility in the Democratic Republic of Congo with blood in his urine, bloody diarrhea, vomiting blood and bleeding from his nose. This patient subsequently died. As of this date, nine people have had similar hemorrhagic symptoms suggestive of Ebola. Three have died, one of whom tested positive to a Zaire subtype (different from the subtype that caused the 2014 epidemic). The deceased patient took a Moto-taxi to the hospital, the driver died and is included in the three deaths. The medical professional who took care of the patient also developed symptoms.
Per the CDC, as of February 28, 2016, there were 28,639 suspected, probable and confirmed cases of Ebola and 11,316 deaths from Ebola during the 2014 epidemic in West Africa. In comparison, there were 2,427 reported cases and 1,597 deaths in all other known cases and outbreaks of Ebola combined.
Past Ebola outbreaks have occurred in the following countries:
• Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
• South Sudan
• Ivory Coast
• Republic of the Congo (ROC)
• South Africa (imported)
.The cost of Ebola has devastated the African economy and the health of people in the countries affected. As per the CDC, Sierra Leone private sector lost 50% of its work force, with $2.2 billion in GDP lost in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2015 that threatens food security and growth.
The impact of Ebola on African nations healthcare system was also devastating. It caused an 8% reduction in healthcare workforce in Liberia; and 23% decrease in health services delivery in Sierra Leone. The reduction in access to healthcare caused by Ebola resulted in an additional 10,600 deaths due to untreated conditions in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Cost of response: about 3.6 B dollars was spent to fight the 2014 epidemic.
Ebola seems to be a very effective “weapon” in disrupting countries, so keeping them in poverty and dependent on American support.
Is Ebola another Tuskegee?