“Can a Post-Crisis Country Survive in the Time of Ebola? Issues Arising with Liberia’s Post-war Recovery” – article by Jordan Ryan in the latest edition of the Harvard International Review.
You could change the names in the article to names found in Sierra Leone and the article will apply equally to Sierra Leone. I suspect the same is true for Guinea. I would add the following.
If the world had not come in to “support” the three countries, hundreds of thousands would have died. Currently, conservative estimates of what the epidemic has cost the world hovers around $25 billion (US approaching $8b, UK about $2b – official and non-official, France unknown, Cuba, China, ADB, World Bank, IMF, plus philanthropists and UN agencies. Add to that income lost by the economic slowdown and ripple effects throughout Africa’s tourism industry). If only $1b had been spent to set up a robust public health system, the epidemic would have remained an isolated outbreak. More important recent studies are showing that had the proper governance system been in place the spread would have been quickly contained. In short the pockets of the world could have been spared, and the toll on human life in the sub-region minimized.
The World can no longer remain curious bystanders as post-conflict countries recreate the conditions that led to state-collapse earlier. In this case, robust health systems must now be set up, but more important is to address the root causes through policy reforms, for application of the rule of law, and enhanced accountability. In the current global order governments are increasingly held accountable for their social contracts by the international community but it seems this is so mainly when geopolitical interests are threatened. I am not advocating a return to the colonial era rather, development partners must “help” countries to avoid the path that leads to state collapse and not wait until it is almost too late as happened in this case.