More than 11,000 people died in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone alone during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. And the cost of the outbreak was also counted in economic terms with losses of roughly $1.6 billion. But in its wake, Ebola also left affected countries with increased knowledge bases of how to handle viral outbreaks.
“Our preparedness is based on the system we built after Ebola,” says Dr. Mosoka Fallah, acting lead of Liberia’s National Public Health Institute. “The national institute that’s now leading preparedness for coronavirus did not exist before Ebola,” he says. “The skill did not exist before, the knowledge did not exist before, the manpower did not exist before and the infrastructure did not exist before.”
The aftermath of Ebola now means West African countries including Senegal, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria currently rank as better prepared for COVID-19 than richer countries with more sophisticated health systems, says Gyude Moore, fellow at Center for Global Development in Washington D.C and former minister for public works in Liberia.
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