Policy Notes on the Economic Impact of Ebola Virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone

31 Oct 2014
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Summary

Nearly a year into the Ebola crisis ravaging West Africa, the deadly disease’s knock-on effects are huge. Ebola has caused many deaths, stifled growth rates, reversed recent socioeconomic gains, aggravated poverty and food insecurity, and destroyed livelihoods. Buried in the aggregated impact is the plight of Ebola’s voiceless victims and agents of change—women and
children.

The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone is the largest Ebola outbreak in history. What started as a public health crisis in Guinea on 26 December 2013 degenerated into development crises in the three epicentre countries in less than six months. As of January 2015, there were 20,721 EVD cases in total: 2,775 in Guinea, 8,157 in Liberia, and 9,789 in Sierra Leone.

Although the transmission rate has started slowing down in Guinea and Liberia since December 2014, it is yet to be under control in Sierra Leone.

Highlights

  • The number of EVD deaths is higher among women than men in the three epicentre countries. Of the total cases of EVD in West Africa, 50.8 percent have been women, as of 7 January 2015
  • Toward the end of 2014, it was estimated that there were more than 30,000 Ebola orphaned children in the three countries
  • Of the approximately 200,000 expected pregnant women in the last quarter of 2014, nearly 40,000 may not be monitored or may not have their babies delivered by a qualified person
  • In the three countries, HIV screenings have decreased by 90 percent