Building the legacy of Ebola: Survivors, health systems, and a blueprint for research and development - Report to donors, January 2017
More than 11 000 people died from Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone during the 2014–15 West Africa epidemic: many times more than the total infected during all previous outbreaks of the disease combined. But that terrible death toll is only half of the story. The unprecedented scale of the outbreak resulted in an unprecedented number of survivors, many of whom still need help to deal with the lasting physical and psychosocial consequences of their infection. This new, complex and often marginalised patient population placed a significant additional burden on the shattered health systems of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone— systems that urgently needed to be rebuilt. The severity of the outbreak also opened the eyes of the world to our collective vulnerability to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, and the need for coordinated global action to ensure that we are better prepared for the next outbreak—forearmed with the vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics that were absent during the height of the EVD epidemic.
Previous reports to donors have detailed WHO's leading role in the international response that, by the end of 2015, had successfully brought an end to human-tohuman transmission directly linked to the original outbreak. This report describes the work done by WHO from January 2015 up to the end of December 2016 to address the long-term issues of survivor care, health-systems strengthening and research. This work would not otherwise have been possible without the foresight and commitment of donors who, having contributed generously to the WHO-led response to the outbreak, recognised the importance of dealing with its consequences.