Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Blog #10: As Ebola Cases Dwindle, West Africa Turns To Economic Recovery

   Here in this article we see that the Ebola epidemic is finally dwindling away!Yay! This has been a long awaited moment in the past year and a half. Weekly tallies are now down to fewer than 40 cases -- their lowest level since last May, when the outbreak was just beginning to gather steam. For me every time I read about or heard about the Ebola epidemic on the news it hurt my heart hearing about all the humans suffering just across the Atlantic. Although this is great news, the three West African countries at the center of this past year's epidemic are faced with the harsh reality of a depleted economy. As if their economies weren't already struggling enough previous to the devastating epidemic. All three countries are plagued with poor infrastructure and fragile health systems. The economy in Sierra Leone could end up contracting by more than 20 percent in 2015, the World Bank estimates. While Guinea's economy is stagnating. Liberia is projected to see growth rates of about 3 percent, but that is still well below the pre-Ebola estimates of 6.8 percent. We see in the article that this Friday the World Bank unveiled a major aid package for the three West African countries. Over the next 18 months, the bank plans to provide Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea $650 million in recovery assistance, mostly in the form of grants. The African Development Bank followed suit Friday with a pledge of $300 million in similar funding. Combined with additional new promises by other international organizations and governments, the three affected countries will be getting more than $1 billion.
   This article also includes the deployment of 3,000 U.S. military troops at a cost of hundreds of millions to erect 11 treatment facilities. But by the time they were ready, the caseload in Liberia had already fallen precipitously. Only 28 Ebola patients were treated at a unit built by the U.S. Although it seems like an effort that is too late to help we must remember that the key to a large scale crisis is no regrets. Although some might see it as poor timing on our part, we must also remember that there is still no cure to the Ebola virus and another epidemic could spike up at any point in time. Nobody saw this outbreak coming but it happened, and West Africa was all but prepared to treat the thousands that died from it. The efforts that were taken and are still continuing to be taken in the long run will be very effective, even just being as little as prepared will make all the difference.

Anna Hunsucker


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