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IJHSR. 2015; 5(1): 275-278

Ebola: A Call to Strengthen the Healthcare System and Surveillance in West Africa.

Paschal Awingura Apanga, Robert Akparibo.

The recent Ebola disease epidemic in West Africa has remain a growing concern to many around the world. The disease, since it was reported in March, 2014 has claimed the lives of more than 5000 people in the West African sub-region. We undertook a rapid review to identify factors that impacted on how the three hardest hit West African countries: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have responded to the Ebola epidemic. We identified and reviewed relevant published and unpublished literatures on the Ebola epidemic since March, 2014. We sourced for relevant literature through electronic databases, as well as contacts with individuals. Our review revealed that the affected countries were barely prepared for the Ebola outbreak. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are faced with many healthcare systems challenges which impacted on the countries’ ability to control and manage the epidemic. The review identified specific healthcare system issues such as; inadequate human resource for health, lack of biosafety laboratories to fight any communicable disease outbreak including Ebola, inadequate health infrastructure and basic medical equipment as the main factors that contributed to poor management of the epidemic. There is the need for governments of West African countries to invest heavily in the strengthening of their healthcare systems to effectively manage epidemics such as Ebola.

Key words: Ebola, Healthcare Systems, Surveillance, West Africa.

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