The end of a nightmare ?

28 637 cases. 11 315 deaths. This is the numbers of victims of the biggest epidemic of all time: Ebola. Since December 2013, western Africa has been affected by this virus, which first showed in Guinea: an infant there became the first one of a long list of 2536 deaths. The scale of the disease was then unprecedented, until October, 2015 when the WHO optimistically announced the eradication of the epidemic. Effective results seem to be encouraging for the création of a vaccine. The inhabitants of Sierra Leone, absolutely not spared by the virus, began to glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel. Indeed, after more than 3955 deaths as well as uncountable limitations and safety instructions, the WHO finally declared the country free from the disease on November 7th 2015, leaving the inhabitants relieved and happy to be able to sing ” Ebola bye bye “. In spite of the alarming total of 4808 deaths, which makes this the deadliest manifestation of the disease, Liberia finally managed to get rid of the terrible virus on January 14th, 2016. For the first time for 2 years, western Africa counts no more cases of Ebola.
However, in spite of the recent lui in the transmission of the virus, risks are always potential: the re-emergence of the virus is possible for the survivor’s, especially on a small scale. Consequently, vigilance remains relevant in the face of imminent relaxation of the caution of the inhabitants. Besides, the consequences of the virus are considerable, in particular on the economic plain. On average, 50 % of the staff of the companies of Sierra Leone have been lost since the end of 2013, which blocks the economic situation of the country. The virus had an impact on all the business sectors, dissuading the investors and scaring off the expatriates and the tourists. Indeed, only 5 planes land in Sierra Leone, in contrat to 48 before the epidemic. On the other hand, the consequences on the social plain are not lesser: the survivors, having lost a big part of their family and friends or acquaintances, are stigmatized, excluded and even rejected by the society. This difficulty is fed by the powerful sense of guilt which engenders numerous psychological disorders. The incurable secondary effects of the disease leave the survivors powerless in their country, destroyed by the virus and abandoned by NGO, leaving the country at the end of the crisis. Health systems and still fragile sanitary surveillances are to add at the long list of problems which waits for the survivors, finally thinking they are free of a hideous nightmare.

Noure Nahas