Other diseases are at risk of being overlooked

The World Today Updated 19 February 2021 Published 5 December 2014 2 minute READ

Philip Angelides

Considerable attention is being directed at trying to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. What remains overlooked, however, is how the Ebola outbreak has left the healthcare systems of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia with extremely limited resources for the treatment of other diseases, provision of vaccinations, and delivery of maternal care. Many healthcare facilities have been converted to dedicated Ebola isolation units, while others – already weakened by years of civil war and the emigration of health workers – have collapsed and closed.

At the same time, patients with other infections are said to be avoiding those health facilities that remain open due to fear of contracting Ebola or of being quarantined. Progress towards decreasing deaths from endemic infections that cause diseases such as measles, malaria and diarrhoea in these countries may be stalling.

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