In 2014, the Ebola haemorrhagic virus spread through West Africa. It was the longest, and most widespread outbreak in history, killing more than all past episodes combined. The three countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia were hardest hit.
Spread by bodily fluids, Ebola is less infectious than measles or chicken pox. But it is one of the world’s most deadly diseases, after HIV and rabies.2
Poverty spreads Ebola
- 3 x more slum-dwellers were infected than the wealthy in Liberia4
- $3-4 billion losses to the economies of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia out of a combined total GDP of $50 billion
Emergency medical and humanitarian aid
UN agencies, development banks, national governments and NGOs stumped up large sums to contain and control the outbreak.
- $5 billion estimated amount made available for global Ebola response8
- $1.5 million cost of a 100-bed Ebola isolation facility9
Health services context, Sierra Leone
- 136 doctors for 6.2 million people10
- $12 government spending on health per person (2013)11
- $61.3 million government health budget in 2015
User fees block access
- 76% of overall spending on healthcare paid for by individual households, upfront12
- 30% of Sierra Leoneans – the poorest – do not seek care13
Invest to prevent
- 6 million deaths every year from neglected diseases such as HIV, malaria, TB and diarrhoea-linked disease in the Majority World.
Funding for Research and Development (R&D) in neglected diseases, 2014:
- $165 million was invested in Ebola R&D in 2014, 86% from the US government. Previously, it attracted about $10 million annually.
Pandemics, the new normal7
A recent report has warned of new infectious diseases in the pipeline that will spread fast in our globalized, ecologically fragile world.
- Centre for Disease Control nin.tl/CDCCaseCounts
- G-FINDER report, 2014 nin.tl/PolicyCures
- BBC News November, 2014 nin.tl/FatPharmaProfits
- The Neglected Dimension of Global Security, January 2016 nin.tl/GlobalSecurityHealth
- Office of the UN Special Envoy on Ebola nin.tl/EbolaResponseUN
- The Independent, April 2016 nin.tl/DamageAfricaEconomy
- BBC News, September 2014 nin.tl/WeakHealthSystems
- Factsheet on health financing in Sierra Leone. Africa health budget network.
- Africa All-Party Parliamentary Group, February 2016. nin.tl/LessonsCommunities
- Health Poverty Action, 2015. nin.tl/HealthyRevenues
- WHO nin.tl/DensityPhysicians