One year ago, Ebola began its rampage across West Africa, killing thousands in countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia. After a year of horror, the disease is finally under control. Restrictions are slowly being lifted. Life should be returning to normal. But will life in West Africa ever be "normal" again?
I am in Sierra Leone to visit some of the Ebola treatment centres run by Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in response to the West African epidemic that began just over one year ago. That the Prince of Wales centre in Freetown, and other Ebola centres are closing is a sign case numbers have plummeted from the historic highs seen in the outbreak.
Sub-Saharan Africa did not have a particularly good year. There were internal conflicts in South Sudan and Central African Republic. Nigeria's north and Kenya experienced considerable insecurity that led to loss of lives. But great things happened in Sub-Saharan Africa -- one new and two ongoing efforts -- a combination of which hold tremendous potential to empower and improve lives.
The Ebola epidemic is far from over. At this time children are severely affected both by the disease itself and the other sequelae that tragedies such as infectious disease and war leave behind. These children are in need of not just a biomedical approach to Ebola but a "whole-child" approach that addresses other issues that affect child wellbeing.
My conversation with Sierra Leone shows once again that there is much work to be done, and that international community must urgently step-up its response. Canada can and must do more to help the people of West Africa, and must turn its announcements into commitments on the ground. As the United Nations said, a humane world cannot allow Africa to suffer on such an extraordinary scale.
MONROVIA, Liberia - Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said Ebola has killed more than 2,000 people in her country and has brought it to "a stan...
Like a decade ago, the goal is to end the Ebola crisis and allow a nation to begin its recovery. The next step will be to re-open schools shuttered by chaos and fear, allowing the next generation of health practitioners to be educated. But success will only be achieved -- and the next crisis averted before it begins -- if we all follow the example of those Canadian children who refused to ship out of Sierra Leone until the job was done.
Charles Taylor is the first tyrant to be tried, convicted and sentenced. Some even think that Taylor's fate may worry Syria's Bashar al-Assad, and perhaps persuade him to ease off on killing his people. But Assad continues to rampage against his people; it's clear there's no interest in direct action against homicidal leaders.