Health systems throughout the developing world need to be strengthened to prevent another Ebola-style outbreak, or worse, warns Save the Children in its new report “A Wake Up Call: Lessons from Ebola for the World’s Health Systems.”
The report ranks the world’s poorest countries on the state of their public health systems, finding that 28 have weaker defenses in place than Sierra Leone, where, alongside Liberia and Guinea, the current Ebola crisis has already claimed more than 9,500 lives.
The report also advises that prevention is better than cure, finding that the international Ebola relief effort in West Africa has cost $4.3 billion, whereas strengthening the health systems of those countries in the first place would have cost just $1.58 billion.
Ahead of an Ebola summit attended by world leaders in Brussels on Monday, the charity warns that alongside immediate much needed support to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, lessons need to be learnt and applied to other vulnerable countries around the world.
“A robust health system could have helped get Ebola under control much sooner, saving thousands of children’s lives and billions of dollars,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children USA.
The reports’ index looks at the numbers of health workers, government spending on health, and mortality rates. Somalia ranks lowest, and is preceded by Chad, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Haiti, Ethiopia, Central Africa Republic (CAR), Guinea, Niger, and then Mali.