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Ebola strikes West Africa again: key questions and lessons from the past

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Source: Mosoka Fallah, The conversation, 18 February 2021, photo credit: www.fao.org

News of a new outbreak of Ebola in Guinea is indeed distressing. The last in West Africa occurred between 2014 and 2015 and affected Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. It was the world’s deadliest Ebola outbreak, which began in Guinea and in which more than 11,300 people died. Among these were over 500 health workers.

But countries in the West African region are in a very different position seven years on.

Liberia and Sierra Leone have already mobilised and activated their national response and preparedness plans. A clear indication that the political will is there.

Countries in the region also have the experience of the past, as well as new tools to tackle Ebola. They have an experienced workforce, laboratory systems are more developed and regional organisations, such as the Mano River Union – a regional economic and security body – and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are more proactive.
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