Thursday, July 7, 2022

World Health Organization: Sierra Leone Is Ebola-free

The World Health Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations that focuses on international public health, declared today that Ebola is out of Sierra Leone. The announcement made thousands take the streets to celebrate.

The crowd celebrated by waving banners, dancing and launching fireworks to the sky. It was the first time in 18 months that the country was free from the deadly virus.

Ebola killed almost 4,000 citizens and affected their struggling economy even more. Back in May, Liberia received the very same announcement. A new case was reported there two months later but nothing has happened since.

Anders Nordstrom, the UN agency’s country representative, announced to a numerous crowd that the World Health Organization had declared the end of the Ebola outbreak in the country. The news were met by a round of applause.

Hours after the announcement, the population was still celebrating, with bars offering free drinks and churches ringing bells.

Sierra LeoneThe country bordered by Guinea and Liberia recorded half of the cases. Estimates say Ebola has infected around 28,600 people in those three countries. The virus has taken the lives of more than 11,000 since late 2013. The number is said to be a little higher because some deaths have gone unreported.

Guinea Is Still Registering Cases

The announcement is great news for the United Nations after months of efforts to stop the virus from spreading even more. Guinea is now the only country still registering cases, but they’re only a few. The virus has also affected health services in the three countries, with more than 500 doctors and nurses losing their lives after treating patients.

Sierra Leone began the countdown to being declared free of the virus back in September, just weeks after Liberia received the great news. In Guinea, where around 2,500 people have lost their lives, they have not been able to stay 42 days free of the virus.

Ernest Bai Koroma, Sierra Leone’s President, said that Ebola has ended but that they must be prepared for a re-emergence and that the country will keep its laboratories and treatment centers open. He says they’re confident now that they have a system in place to respond.


Koroma said he was now working on ending the national state of emergency, which restricted traveling and movement to other places, and also announced two public holidays to recognize those who risked their lives to fight the outbreak.

The epidemic was first reported 18 months ago and some say it arrived to the country when more than twelve women contracted Ebola in Guinea. Last year, the three countries were reporting hundreds of cases each week. Sierra Leone, which was devastated by a civil war that lasted 11 years, will now have to recover from the economic problems the virus caused. The World Bank estimates that the country in West Africa will lose at least $1.4 billion in economic growth this year. That didn’t stop people from celebrating, many of them had lost relatives to the virus and are happy to see it gone from the country.

Sean Farlow
University graduate with a bachelor's degree in business administration. Big fan of sports teams from South FL.


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