Epidemic affects businesses in capital, including pharmacy

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(30 Sep 2014) The Ebola virus that has killed more than 3000 people across large swathes of West Africa is now threatening entire economies, including Guinea, where millions of dollars are being put aside to help businesses.
On Saturday, the country’s finance minister announced that due to the negative impact Ebola was having on the country, the government will be looking to increase money to help combat the virus from 70 million to 134 million dollars.
But while the Bill is being tabled for adoption, businesses in the Guinean capital, Conakry, are suffering.
At a local pharmacy in the Hamdallaye area, they’re struggling to stay afloat financially.
“Sales are normally done through prescriptions and through advice,” said local pharmacist, Doctor Berete.
Now, people are afraid to go to hospital because they think they will contract Ebola from patients or from doctors there and as a result, “the chain of prescription is cut off,” he said, and “this has caused a drop in sales.”
Street vendors and taxi drivers have also experienced a financial hit from the spread of Ebola with fewer people visiting the city.
As you drive down the main street in Hamdallaye, more and more shop fronts including tourism and airline offices are clad in metal – closed for business.
Sangare, a local businessman, said he just sits outside his store now because there is no one around to buy his goods.
“At the moment the tourists have left because of Ebola and the tourists are the only people who come and buy from our stores.”
The UN says West African countries need one billion US dollars to tackle the outbreak.
So far just 350 million dollars has been pledged.

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