In view of the impending collapse of the Liberian healthcare system due to the Ebola epidemic, the children's aid organization World Vision points to the Dangerous overburdening of more states towards. In the affected countries, he said, hospitals and health stations are increasingly unable to provide basic health care for the population. Urgent investment is needed to keep weakened systems from collapsing, he said.
The Liberian government had acknowledged that the Country's health facilities unable to cope with Ebola epidemic are. Recent reports from Sierra Leone and Liberia indicate that Ebola has pushed already poorly equipped hospitals and health clinics to their limits. As a result, medical assistance is no longer available for many people. For fear of catching the disease, more and more pregnant women are refraining from seeking medical help. Many increasingly deliver their babies at home without midwives. If there are complications, they cannot be helped professionally, the number of fatal births increases.
Diseases other than Ebola are being treated less and less because of a lack of capacity — the victims are mainly children. "Hundreds of children remain underserved and dying at the moment — mainly from diseases that are actually easy to treat, such as malaria, typhoid and pneumonia," reports pediatrician Sara Hommel, who currently works in Freetown, Sierra Leone's capital city.
In light of these developments, World Vision urgently calls on the German government and the governments of the affected countries to massively strengthen health systems. "It comes as little surprise that the Ebola epidemic has left entire health systems reeling. In many countries, massive cuts have been made in basic health care for years now, especially In the rural areas, we must speak of a chronic shortage of care. In 2001, all African countries pledged to invest at least 15 percent of their national budgets in health care. Today, just seven countries have implemented this promise," says Marwin Meier, health expert at World Vision Germany.
"Germany does not exactly cover itself with glory when it comes to financing the health of poor countries. For a decade now, the World Health Organization has recommended that donor countries invest 0.1 percent of gross national income in international health. But Germany would have to triple its contributions to reach this level," says Meier.
In some poor countries, non-state actors such as churches or aid organizations provide up to 40 percent of health care. Health systems could not be run sustainably this way, World Vision says. The core responsibility of a state for the health care of its citizens lies with the government.
The organization has been supporting community education in Sierra Leone since the outbreak of the epidemic. World Vision staff inform people in rural areas about preventive measures. Prejudices against sick people, survivors and their relatives would have to be reduced.
According to the WHO since March in the three most severely affected states Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone almost 4.300 people infected with Ebola. Nearly 2.300 of them died.