World Bank President commends Sierra Leone on the end of Ebola transmission
Celebrations erupted in Freetown along with solemn vigils to remember those who lost their lives to the disease.
The World Bank Group has congratulated Sierra Leone on the declaration of the end of Ebola disease transmission in the country. The World Health Organisation declared Sierra Leone free of Ebola on Saturday, 17 months after the outbreak of the deadly disease that killed nearly 4,000 people in the West African country.
The outbreak of Ebola disease in West Africa began in Guinea in December 2013, and spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia. Over 11,000 people died from the disease, making it the worst Ebola epidemic in history. As a result of poor medical facilities, the fatality rates went up to 70 percent. Liberia recorded the highest fatalities at 4,808 deaths, while about 3,955 people died in Sierra Leone.
In August last year, the WHO declared the Ebola outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. Eight people died in Nigeria from the disease, including the first casualty Dr Stella Ameyo Adadevoh who contracted the disease from a Liberian patient, Patrick Sawyer, whom she courageously fought to keep him quarantined at the hospital.
Liberia was declared free of Ebola by the WHO on September 3. Guinea, where about 2,500 people have died from the disease is yet to be declared free of the epidemic.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said, “My colleagues and I at the World Bank Group congratulate the government and people of Sierra Leone for their tireless efforts to reach this critical milestone in the long fight against Ebola.”
Celebrations erupted in the Sierra Leonean capital, Freetown, on Saturday along with solemn vigils to remember those who lost their lives to the disease.
Dr. Kim further said, “Still, we are also mindful of the staggering human and economic costs of the Ebola epidemic, as well as the need for continued vigilance as some cases remain in the region. We remember the nearly 4,000 people - including more than 220 heroic health workers - in Sierra Leone who lost their lives, those who lost their loved ones, and the many survivors still in need of support.”
“The World Bank Group remains committed to supporting Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea as they work to bring this deadly epidemic to a final end, to recover and rebound. We will do everything we can to help these countries and the world prevent another deadly pandemic,” the statement concluded.
The World Bank Group has mobilized $1.62 billion in financing for Ebola response and recovery efforts, including $1.17 billion from IDA, the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries. In Sierra Leone, the WBG’s IDA financing totaling $318 million includes support for more than 9,000 Ebola survivors.
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