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Updated On: Monday, 22 July 2019

Ebola Affects More Than Just Health, Experts Declare

Content by: South-South News

20 August 2014, New York, USA | Brendan Pastor – With the death toll from the Ebola virus topping 1,200 persons across three countries in West Africa, observers are becoming keenly aware of the disease’s effects on other elements of society beyond just health.

“This disease is affecting how societies work; it's affecting the social setting; it's affecting economies; it's affecting governance. It's got humanitarian consequences. It's got political repercussions. It may have security impacts,” said David Nabarro, the Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola.

Beyond the obvious health impacts of Ebola on the West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Liberia, the disease has create severe disturbances in economic and financial conditions. Several major airlines have suspended flights in and out of some of the countries, while others have reduced their service. In addition, many businesses and agricultural areas are seeing disturbances due to a rise in paranoia surrounding the disease.

Most pressingly, a series of violence has broken out in some places, as looters enter Ebola clinic camps and release some of the contained persons who are infected.

But the response to the outbreak has been called weak by some humanitarian aid groups.

A spokesperson with Medecins Sans Frontieres expressed dismay at the slow movement by the international community and the tepid response in some other regional countries to what amounts to a serious international health emergency.

Nabarro role as UN System Coordinator necessarily means he is tasked with the unenviable responsibility of facilitating effective management of the crisis among many different agencies and programs.

Nevertheless, he insists that the UN’s job remains within the sphere of coordination of local actors.

“Our fundamental role here is one of supporting people and their communities,” Nabarro said during a press conference, adding how the role is “also of strengthening and responding to the governments of the countries that are affected by Ebola virus disease.”

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