The Ebola virus has spread across several Western Africa countries, adding a significant financial burden to their health systems and economies. In this article the experience with Ebola is reviewed, and economic challenges and policy recommendations are discussed to help curb the impact of other diseases in the future. The West African Ebola virus disease epidemic started in resource-constrained settings and caused thousands of fatalities during the last epidemic. Nevertheless, given population mobility, international travel, and an increasingly globalized economy, it has the potential to re-occur and evolve into a global pandemic. Struggling health systems in West African countries hinder the ability to reduce the causes and effects of the Ebola epidemic. The lessons learned include the need for strengthening health systems, mainly primary care systems, expedited access to treatments and vaccines to treat the Ebola virus disease, guidance on safety, efficacy, and regulatory standards for such treatments, and ensuring that research and development efforts are directed toward existing needs. Other lessons include adopting policies that allow for better flow of relief, averting the adverse impact of strong quarantine policy that includes exaggerating the aversion behavior by alarming trade and business partners providing financial support to strengthen growth in the affected fragile economies by the Ebola outbreak. Curbing the impact of future Ebola epidemics, or comparable diseases, requires increased long-term investments in health system strengthening, better collaboration between different international organizations, more funding for research and development efforts aimed at developing vaccines and treatments, and tools to detect, treat, and prevent future epidemics.
Mahmoud Elmahdawy Gihan H. Elsisi Joao Carapinha Mohamed Lamorde Abdulrazaq Habib Peter Agyie-Baffour Redouane Soualmi Samah Ragab Anthony W. Udezi Cyril Usifoh Stella Usifoh