The political economy of ebola virus disease (EVD) in West African countries
The Ebola virus disease (EVD) was first reported to have been identified in Africa in 1976 when it occurred in south Sudan and Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo). Its first occurrence in West Africa was in a 1994 lone infection of an ethnologist in Côte d’Ivoire but in 2014, there was an outbreak in West Africa stemming from an index case in Guinea. The outbreak is still ongoing. The EVD is one of the filoviral hemorrhagic fevers. This paper examined the political economies in West African nations in relation to the management of their natural resources and to the resultant susceptibility to an infectious disease outbreak. It reviewed the African Development Bank Reports from 2007 to 2011 and also searched Google Scholar database using conflict and natural resource as search terms. The findings from this study showed that abundant natural resources did not translate to improved economic opportunities but usually a downturn in economic resources and poor governance riddled by civil conflicts over the regions of natural resources. The foundational issues in the current outbreak lie in the political economies of the West African countries. The numerous conflicts have left the West African nations susceptible to preventable diseases like EVD. The findings also suggest that changes in climatic conditions around the West African country of Guinea enabled the Ebola virus to come in contact with humans. Further, the author suggests that governments of West African nations should develop a transborder framework for regions around natural resources and those governments should be more transparent with the people they rule. In addition, individuals and communities should take ownership in the prevention and control of EVD.
Key words: Ebola Virus Disease (EVD); filoviral hemorrhagic fevers; outbreak; West Africa; natural resource, Political Economy; civil conflicts; ownership; Governance; Guinea;
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