“For two years, the people and governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been fighting the worst Ebola outbreak in history, which has infected more than 28,600 people and has claimed the lives of 11,300 people. Today, as Liberia marks the end of Ebola transmission—following Guinea’s and Sierra Leone’s declarations on Dec. 29 and Nov. 7, 2015, respectively—these three nations can take pride in their perseverance and commitment to reach this critical milestone.
“Ebola has exacted an enormous toll on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. It has not only taken thousands of lives, it has devastated economies, health systems, social structures and families—reversing many years of development gains. Ebola’s scars will not soon fade, especially for survivors and their families, and for the heroic health workers who cared for the infected.
“It’s now time to heed the lessons of this epidemic. In the near term, the world must remain vigilant to stay at zero Ebola cases, especially with the threat of flare-ups of the disease, while helping the three hardest-hit countries recover and rebuild their economies and health systems.
“The world must prepare for future pandemics now. Expert reviews of the Ebola response led by the United Nations, the Harvard Global Health Institute and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the National Academy of Medicine, and others offer the opportunity to build a smarter, swifter global pandemic response system. As part of this effort, the World Bank Group, World Health Organization, and government and private sector partners are developing a Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility to provide swift and flexible financing to help stop a severe outbreak from becoming a more deadly and costly pandemic, thereby saving lives and protecting economies.”