Turning the Page on Ebola

The Ebola outbreak that began last year in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia is the most severe on record since the disease was first diagnosed in Central Africa in 1976. Four components are essential to the region’s economic recovery.

WASHINGTON, DC – The Ebola outbreak that began last year in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, three of the four countries of the Mano River Union, is the most severe on record since the disease was first diagnosed in Central Africa in 1976. The impact of the epidemic has been devastating, calling into question our three countries’ significant socioeconomic progress in the aftermath of decades of conflict and instability.

The region has so far registered a total of 25,791 cases and 10,689 deaths – almost ten times the number of deaths from all other Ebola epidemics combined. For 2014, the projected growth rates for our three countries were 4.5%-11.3%. These projections have now been reduced to 2.2% at best. In the absence of mitigation measures, a recession cannot be ruled out.

The uncontrolled spread of the disease exposed the shortcomings of our national health care systems, as well as regional and global institutions’ weak capacity for coordination and effective response. Simply put, we were ill prepared to cope with, much less prevent, an outbreak on this scale.

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