Resuscitating Africa’s Health Care
Recent reports that millions of dollars in aid went missing during the 2014 Ebola crisis has angered many health workers in Africa. But the mishandling of Red Cross money, as outrageous as it is, holds important lessons for how to improve health-care access to and outcomes on the continent.
FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE – In late October, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) confirmed what many had long suspected: millions of dollars donated to fight the Ebola outbreaks in Guinea and Sierra Leone had been mismanaged and stolen. The world’s oldest humanitarian organization was “outraged” by the findings, it said.
Needless to say, they were not alone.
I was national coordinator of Ebola burials for Sierra Leone at the height of the epidemic. For much of the crisis, beginning in 2014, we lacked the equipment and materials needed to contain the deadly virus. We lost many health workers amid the dearth of resources, and the thought of losing my own life – leaving behind a family and two young children – terrified me daily. These were anxious times for my country.