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September 15, 2015
Plans to build resilient health systems have been developed by the 3 countries, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, most affected by the recent Ebola outbreak. To assist the governments of these countries in securing funding and resources for these national and regional recovery strategies over a 2-year time frame, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convened the International Ebola Recovery Conference in New York City in July. During this conference, the international community pledged more than $5 billion toward these efforts (http://bit.ly/1KXJ7On).
At a press call organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) before the conference, several experts discussed the challenges and goals of these Ebola recovery efforts. According to Matshidiso Moeti, MD, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, the Ebola outbreak was especially devastating in these West African countries because their health systems, which were already struggling to handle routine health care, became overwhelmed and collapsed. All 3 countries have troubled histories and are still recovering from civil wars, noted Philip Ireland, MD, an Ebola survivor and emergency medicine physician at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, in Monrovia, Liberia.
The immediate goals for these countries are to achieve zero Ebola cases and to reboot essential health systems, said Marie-Paule Kieny, MD, WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation. The longer-term goal is to build resilient health systems, not only in the countries affected by Ebola, but in all countries that have weak health systems, she noted.