Ebola’s Impact on Women and Children in Sierra Leone

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The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has exposed an ineffective healthcare system, poor governance, and deficient institutional capacity in the three most affected countries: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. In Sierra Leone, women and children – who account for nearly seventy percent of Ebola victims – have suffered the most from the mismanaged epidemic. Ebola healthcare workers are predominantly female and, because of the massive diversion of funds to combat Ebola, the number of professional midwives has declined, causing an increase in maternal and infant mortality. Children are the most vulnerable group, including Ebola orphans who are isolated and bereft. While the international community has launched a coordinated response to the crisis through donations, medical supplies, and military aid, such efforts merely address the symptoms, not the root causes. The Ebola outbreak highlights the systemic corruption and lack of government accountability in Sierra Leone, namely a non-transparent budget and minimal allocation of funds to improving healthcare services. In her presentation, N’yella Maya Rogers will evaluate the long-term socio-economic impact of Ebola in Sierra Leone and provide a set of recommendations for the international community, Sierra Leonean citizens, and the diaspora community moving forward. Her presentation will be followed by comments by Kamissa Camara.


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