Ebola Left Devastation But Opportunity Too. Don’t Stop Sending Money

Ebola Left Devastation But Opportunity Too. Don’t Stop Sending Money

The dangers Ebola left in its wake also present new opportunities to rebuild West Africa, says John Hoffmire, director of the Impact Bond Fund at Saïd Business School at Oxford University and director of the Center on Business and Poverty at the Wisconsin School of Business.

Ebola is a natural disaster that didn’t damage buildings and roads, but it damaged social infrastructure such as businesses, government and the economy. The good news is that those institutions can be revived and strengthened.

Clinics were built to treat Ebola patients. Why not convert them into schools for children, Hoffmire said in a report in DeseretNews.

“We should use our footholds and now help with education, clean water, malaria prevention, business and job skills and improvements in government,” he said.

Aid workers and organizations that built trust with communities can continue to improve living standards, Hoffmire said. “West Africa can have a future that is better than ever before if we sustain our interest and support.”

The one scenario to avoid is where the people we rushed to help in the Ebola struggle feel abandoned due to our sudden withdrawal, he said.

The International Monetary Fund has made good on its promise to help an economic recovery. In late March, the IMF approved $29.8 million in debt relief to Guinea as part of its new Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust. Previously the trust granted $29.1 million to Sierra Leone and $36.5 million to Liberia, DW reported.

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“The Ebola outbreak is not over,” IMF spokesman William Murray said in the DW report. “The Fund will continue to do all it can within its mandate to assist.”

Scores of aid groups and relief organizations that were on the ground with locals should play a role in not only rebuilding the countries but helping them to prosper, Hoffmire said.

Billions have been donated to fight Ebola. If we keep donating we will be investing in a brighter future, Hoffmire said. West Africa is not out of the woods.

Ebola is still a threat. The fight continues and complacency is dangerous, said Magnus Contech, a public health specialist with World Vision, in a U.S. State Department video released this month.

“This is a global public health emergency,” Contech said. “If we become complacent or the international community moves its attention” this outbreak will not end and we’ll see a rapid increase in cases again, he said.

West Africa and the developed world have a remarkable opportunity to stay engaged with each other and to help the devastated region thrive, Hoffmire said.

If we want our lawmakers to remain invested in rebuilding West Africa, Hoffmire said citizens of other countries need to continue their support by continuing to make resources available.