What are the needs?
Guinea is rich in minerals, however it ranks among the poorest and least developed countries in the world. The Ebola epidemic of West Africa – the largest on record – started in the forested regions of Southeast Guinea in late 2012. Since then and until December 2015, there have been 3 804 cases of Ebola and 2 536 deaths, according to UN figures. Beyond the human tragedy, the disease has had devastating effects on the security, economies and health care systems of the whole region.
With the epidemic under control in the whole region, it is of utmost importance that an effective community surveillance system is in place, with live and death alerts, and that international implementing organisations continue on-going support to health teams to ensure that swabs are taken from community deaths and that all suspect Ebola cases are reported.
How are we helping?
The EU has been active in the response to the Ebola emergency from the start. All available political, financial and scientific resources to help contain, control, treat and ultimately defeat Ebola have been mobilised.
Since March 2014, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department provided close to €70 million in humanitarian aid to address the most urgent needs in all affected countries: epidemic surveillance, diagnostics, treatment and medical supplies; deployment of doctors and nurses and training of health workers; awareness-raising among the population and promotion of safe burials.
The funds were channelled through humanitarian partner organizations, including the UN, international organizations and NGOs.
The overall financial contribution of the EU to fight the epidemic amounts to close to €2 billion, including funding from Member States for emergency and recovery measures.
Prior to the Ebola outbreak, the EU was involved in the fight against other epidemics, such as meningitis, yellow fever and especially cholera, which affect 100 000 people each year in West Africa. The Commission supported the so-called 'shield & sword' approach across the region, which consists of prevention measures coupled with early detection, response and treatment. It also included an investment in cross-border epidemiological surveillance and building the capacity of the health authorities. The approach helped curb the 2012 cholera epidemic in Guinea, which infected 8 000 Guineans and left 100 dead.