The link between the West African Ebola outbreak and health systems in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone

Added June 20, 2019

Citation: Shoman H, Karafillakis E, Rawaf S. The link between the West African Ebola outbreak and health systems in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone: a systematic review. Globalization and health. 2017 Dec;13(1):1.

Summary: An adequate and efficient health workforce is of the utmost importance to a strong health care system and ensures a quick response to outbreaks.

The Ebola outbreak of Guinea 2013 had spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2014. Observations of the pre-existing health systems of these three countries reveal correspondence in underdeveloped infrastructure and response preparations to the subsequent outbreaks. Therefore, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a public health emergency of international concern on August 8, 2014.

The ‘WHO health system building blocks’ were used to evaluate the performance of health systems in tackling the Ebola outbreak amongst the three countries. According to the WHO, adequate service delivery results from a collective success of the building blocks- health workforce, health financing, information and research, medical products and technologies, leadership and governance, service delivery.

Lack of healthcare professionals was a common theme found in all three Ebola outbreaks and was associated with the lack of resources/funding from the government or from recent civil wars. Not only were the skilled workforce deprived, but with the existing medical products and technologies the outbreaks were uncontrollable. The undesirable outcomes of high mortality rates and incidents have led the governments to realize the deficiency in current practice and the importance of surveillance and research for effectual healthcare managements.


Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on Ebola but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about Ebola on the basis of this summary alone.