The Ebola Outbreak in Liberia is Over – The World Health Organization’s declaration Saturday that Liberia is free of Ebola virus transmission includes a recounting of the epidemic there, including that its start was “deceptively slow.” It continues that the first week of April saw one confirmed case in the capital city, and goes on to say “the impression of a calm situation turned out to be an illusion.” In reality, one case of the highly infectious deadly disease in the crowded capital of a low-income country with an under-resourced health system should never have been seen to present an illusion of a calm situation. The WHO release goes on to tell of lessons learned as well as the risks that continue as long as outbreaks continue in Guinea and Sierra Leone. Those lessons, and how they change the way WHO perceives and responds to epidemics will top the agenda of the 68th World Health Assembly next week. In the meantime, we’re reading proposals and projections of what comes after the official end of Liberia’s Ebola outbreak.
A retrospective and prospective analysis of the west African Ebola virus disease epidemic – This Lancet article by Lawrence Gostin and Eric Friedman looks at the failures that allowed the ongoing outbreak to spread as far and as fast as it did, and proposes ways to address each systemically.
Global health security: the wider lessons form the west African Ebola virus disease epidemic – This Lancet article by a team of international health response experts lead by David Heymann looks at the definition and components of global health security as illustrated by the impact, gaps and responses to the west Africa Ebola crisis, including in public health systems, political stability and accountability, and research and development.
The Next Victims of Ebola – Among the impacts of the disruption and damage that the Ebola crisis inflicted on an already struggling public health system were that an estimated quarter million children missed vaccinations against other infectious diseases during the past year, this Foreign Policy perspective from Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Gavi vaccine alliance head Seth Berkley says. While the world may be better prepared to respond to the next Ebola outbreak, a sustainable system to protect children from predictable and deadly illnesses remains elusive, they note.
Schools reopen but Ebola keeps pupils on the streets – This IRIN article tells how the recently ended 9-month shutdown of Sierra Leone’s schools caused by the Ebola outbreak continues, and will continue to affect children, families and communities in a country where even before the outbreak more than half the population lived on $1.25 a day.