Child patient

When the 2014 Ebola virus hit, countries were left decimated and thousands were affected. As of August 4, 2015, the CDC estimated that there were 27,898 suspected and confirmed cases and 11, 296 deaths as a result of Ebola. 

But to many individuals in West, these statistics are just that. However, the reality is that despite the near eradication of Ebola in the countries hardest hit (Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Liberia), lasting effects are continuing to impede progress for these countries and others nearby. It’s reported that 13,000 people actually survived the virus.

The Facts:

  • UNICEF estimates that 70,000 births went unrecorded during the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone
  • UN Secretary-General Ban Kai-moon estimates that it will take $3.2 billion to rebuild Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone
  • Safari operators in East Africa reported declines of anywhere from 20 to 70% in 2014 despite East Africa not being affected by Ebola
  • Gambia (not affected by Ebola) reported a 50-60% decline in tourism in 2014
  • World Travel and Tourism Council estimated that there was a 30% average decline for tourism in the 16 countries located in West Africa
  • WHO estimates it will take roughly $700 million just to rebuild the healthcare systems of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone
  • Ebola survivors suffer from lingering health issues like chronic joint pain, persistent headaches, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder

But there are strides being made to help survivors of Ebola. Aside from World Nations committing $5 billion in aid and the African Union jumpstarting it’s “Africans helping Africans” campaign, some survivors are taking recovery matters into their own hands. For example, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, survivor Yusuf Kabba formed the Association of Ebola Survivors to help educate individuals about the virus and help survivors deal with the emotional trauma and stigma they face in their communities.

Survivor Erison Turay of Freetown also started an association to bridge the gap between survivors and community members by starting the Kenema Ebola Survivors Football Club. And thanks to documentarian, Ben Solomon, you can see for yourself how Turay is using soccer to unite his community:

(Photo courtesy of NY Times)

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