Liberia free from Ebola

Liberia will now be declared free from Ebola. According to NAI researcher Mats Utas, this is mainly thanks to a great effort by the Liberians themselves.

“People in Liberia have changed their behavior. They improved the hygiene, they isolated and took care of the infected. However, despite the victory over Ebola in Liberia, the infection still exists in the neighbouring countries of Sierra Leone and Guinea”, Mats Utas says.

International efforts were launched late against Ebola. It was not until the realization that the domestic health system could not handle the outbreak. The Liberian failure was due to a health care system that was too decentralized according to Mats Utas.

“There was no coordination between the national hospitals and clinics. Information about Ebola did not spread as fast as it should. Panic occurred in the beginning and health staff died from the infection”, Mats Utas says.

At first, the health care system in Liberia seemed to be well-organised. But the reality was something entirely different.

“The money was either wrongly invested or disappeared into the pockets of corrupt state officials”.

Mats Utas recognizes that the way the Liberian people dealt with the disease is something promising for the future. However, to tackle new threats the health care system must be re-organised.

“Donors should put pressure on the government to centralize the health care and by doing so reach the population in the whole country”, Mats Utas concludes.

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