Ebola – What is Needed?12th December 2014

Ebola – What is Needed?

The world needs leadership, coordination and quick delivery on the ground to stop Ebola in its tracks.

Funds must be invested to contain the disease and build up health systems to make sure countries are never this vulnerable again

The world waited far too long and is only now starting to take on responsibility in this crisis. One of the problems is: who is taking charge? Who is doing what? Is there enough money for the medium and long term rebuild as well as to contain the disease?

We need the world to deploy all available resources – human, material, financial – that we need. We may then have a fighting chance of containing this disease. It is exactly now that we need to ramp up, not scale back. Because this disease has already shown us that if we temporarily let up, it can come surging back.

Anyone who thinks enough has been done already, hasn’t understood the realities on the ground.  Nor have they understood that not only do we need to contain this disease, but we need to make sure these countries – and others – are never this vulnerable again.

 

Medium Term

Even before Ebola hit West Africa, the affected countries had some of the weakest health systems in the world, characterised by a lack of basic infrastructure (hospitals, clinics, labs), supplies, and health care workers.

Specifically, the WHO recommends a minimum ratio of doctors, nurses and midwives (23 per 10,000 people) needed to provide basic health services to a population. For comparison, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone each had less than 3 per 10,000 people. In fact, Liberia had just 51 doctors for four million people— the second-fewest physicians per person on Earth according to the World Health Organization. These fragile health systems need to be built and strengthened to ensure such a catastrophe cannot strike again.

 

Longer Term

The Ebola virus could become a health and economic disaster of astronomical proportions for the whole continent…Not only are thousands of people falling ill and dying, but farmers have not been able to work their fields, individuals have not been able to take their goods to market, and business to the region has been spiralling downwards. If Ebola isn’t stopped quickly, it threatens to unravel so much of the hard-earned, and incredible, progress that countries such as Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone have built over the last decade.

Even if Ebola ends tomorrow the repercussions for the affected countries and the region will be lasting and the international community must step up. Ebola is not a West African or even an African problem. It is a global problem requiring a global effort to combat and contain. And then ensure it never happens again.

In fact, winning the fight against Ebola is a litmus test of how serious the world is about achieving real progress next year. 2015 will be an important year in human history. In September 2015, world leaders will agree new goals to tackle poverty, inequality and environmental destruction – establishing a framework on which the wellbeing of future generations will depend. In December 2015, they will set new climate action targets – a crucial step towards a safer planet.

Any political talk on development will be meaningless if we don’t actually care for those that are suffering needlessly right now and put an end to their misery. It is time for all of us to get our act together and you can help.

Ebola is an acute catastrophe but it is even more than that: It demonstrates the failure of governments around the world to do their jobs. Functioning health systems are lacking, vaccines and cures against neglected diseases are missing. Generally, sufficient funding against diseases and hunger, for education, infrastructure is missing. We cannot take emergency money for Ebola away from other health priorities or education or agriculture. This is why government’s overseas development assistance (ODA) is so critical.

Key Stats

Latest total Ebola infections (as of 2nd December 2014)

16,933 cases/6,002 deaths

- Guinea: 2155 cases/1312 deaths

- Liberia: 7635 cases/3145 deaths

- Sierra Leone: 7109 cases/1530 deaths

- Mali: 8 cases/6 deaths

- Spain: 1 case/0 deaths

- US: 4 cases/1 death

- Nigeria: 20 cases/8 deaths

- Senegal: 1 case/0 deaths

Guinea: Figures stable at a national level masking intense increase in some areas and reduction in others.

Liberia: Some evidence of cases plateauing nationally, but intense transmission rates still occurring around the capital Monrovia. MSF recommending a move away from large hospitals/treatment units and towards rapid response teams able to access tougher areas.

Sierra Leone: Transmission rates ‘very concerning’ and particularly high in the capital Freetown. This is currently the country of greatest concern.

Mali: 4 cases and deaths reported so far; Mali has activated a tracking system to trace other contacts.

Latest government donor leaders1 (as of 12 November):

Ranked by government pledge as share of GNI

Country

GNI (current $)

Total cash pledged (US$)

as % of GNI

United Kingdom

$2,491,086,766,586

$359,760,000

0.01444%

Sweden

$573,383,212,444

$67,000,000

0.01169%

Denmark

$343,606,642,194

$28,900,000

0.00841%

Norway

$520,892,595,745

$28,500,000

0.00499%

Finland

$258,353,087,488

$11,605,261

0.00449%

France

$2,784,573,368,483

$124,400,000

0.00447%

Germany

$3,735,969,855,799

$133,500,000

0.00357%

Canada

$1,798,869,848,814

$58,100,000

0.00323%

Luxembourg

$37,549,501,436

$1,168,000

0.00311%

Kuwait

$171,694,860,350

$5,000,000

0.00291%

Japan

5,078,764,930,197

$142,000,000

0.00280%

Australia

$1,524,349,214,775

$36,100,000

0.00237%

Netherlands

$796,523,516,488

$17,760,000

0.00223%

United States

$17,057,500,000,000

$344,600,000

0.00202%

Belgium

$507,408,007,777

$8,900,000

0.00175%

China

9,196,167,747,636

$122,500,000

0.00133%

Latest government donor laggards1 (as of 14 Nov)

Country

Group classification

GNI (current $)

Total cash assistance pledged (US$)

Any in-kind?

Argentina

non-DAC UMIC

470,086,745,316

$0

N

Hong Kong

non-DAC HIC

279,449,615,801

$0

N

Iran

non-DAC UMIC

369,271,863,050

$0

N

Portugal

DAC

215,378,772,389

$0

Y

Thailand

non-DAC UMIC

363,544,945,649

$0

Y

Turkey

non-DAC UMIC

810,860,070,306

$0

Y

Greece

DAC

241,497,165,584

$39,526

N

Saudi Arabia

non-DAC HIC

745,272,533,333

$190,738

N

Colombia

non-DAC UMIC

363,489,307,734

$100,000

N

Spain

DAC

1,347,526,558,079

$393,377

Y

As of mid November, this is what some countries’ contributions would look like in real-life, every day comparisons:So far, Germany has spent less on Ebola than it spent on average building just 1 of its football stadiums ahead of the 2006 World Cup

- So far, the amount the UK has pledged for Ebola is less than 4 percent of what Britons spent on hairdressers in 2013

- Australians spend nearly $750 per person per year on beer. Right now, the Australian government’s contribution to Ebola equals only $1.50 per citizen.

Please note that governments are contributing more – both in kind and financial support – as pressure from Band Aid and elsewhere is applied. However, this means that data is changing constantly – for a more accurate reading of financial contributions, you can refer to this Ebola Response Tracker: http://www.one.org/us/ebola-tracker/