In a nearly unprecedented gesture for a sitting head of state, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf joined the Senate Foreign Relations African Affairs subcommittee hearing on “The Ebola Epidemic: The Keys to Success for the International Response” to provide a statement, as well as to answer questions.
CGD Policy Blogs
Last September, we released a report on how the Global Fund could get more health for its money. In it, we offered concrete suggestions for improvements in several different value-for-money domains, all with an eye toward maximizing the health impact of every dollar spent.
In the big federal countries where global disease burden is concentrated, most public money for health isn’t ultimately spent by the national ministry of health, the traditional counterpart for global health funders and technical agencies.
Like others, we’ve written lots about Ebola over the past weeks: the insufficient funding and effort to the response in West Africa, the importance of well-qualified leadership at WHO, the role of health systems in disease response, the futility of travel bans, among others. It’s rare that global health issues are so continuously in the public debate.
Since the first case of Ebola appeared last year, the virus has infected nearly 10,000 people. The epidemic is concentrated in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea — post-conflict countries with incredibly weak health systems.
The priority for policymakers concerned about the Ebola epidemic in West Africa should be to respond to the existing outbreak, treat the victims, and contain its spread. But the longer term lesson is that we need to be willing to spend more on global health.