By Annalisa Merelli
As many as 28 countries are at risk of for the next Ebola epidemicaccording to a new report published by Save the Children. Somalia, Chad, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Haiti, Ethiopia, Central Africa Republic, Guinea, Niger and 17 other countries lacking in health infrastructure could all be part of the “next Ebola Zone.”
“While our large scale military mission is ending… the fight to get to zero cases will continue and the (Joint Force Command) has ensured capabilities were brought that will be sustained in the future.”
Indeed, while there’s been progress, we still haven’t reached zero cases.
Several factors have contributed to the new cases, including the difficulty in controlling a virus that can easily return even when progress has been made against it. As Médecines Sans Frontières (MSF) noted, there is a risk of complacency, as well as distrust of the health system and low awareness of the disease in the local population. According to Claudia Evers MSF’s coordinator in Guinea:
“People are afraid of the virus, and many in the community have lost confidence in the health system.”
Attention to hygienic practices is particularly important since schools have opened after a six-month interruption in the affected areas, and for some of them clean water to wash hands isn’t readily available.