The Health and Rights Programme (Hrep) has called on Malawi Government and global leaders to critically heed lessons from Ebola and invest in building resilient health systems now.
The call comes as the world marked a year since the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced the first Ebola outbreak in Guinea on March 23 2014.
In a statement issued last week, Hrep executive director Maziko Matemba said universal health coverage (UHC) is the best way to protect everyone, particularly the poorest, from whatever crises lie ahead.
Said Matemba: “Malawi need not relax but build on lessons from Ebola affected countries by developing strong health systems with emphasis on strengthening financial resources to the health sector through the proposed creation of a national health fund and improving on quality of health provisions to all Malawians.”
He said global leaders have regularly said health systems have broken down; are failing to reach and protect the most vulnerable, yet, a full year later, as the immediate crisis recedes, we are at a risk of going back to business as usual.
Matemba said: “With climate change, conflict and disease outbreaks on the rise, the business-as-usual attitude threatens to push Malawi, global health systems and communities to their breaking point.”
Ebola virus disease, sometimes known as EVD, is a highly infectious, usually fatal virus that leads to flu-like symptoms and severe internal bleeding. It has killed more than 10 000 people in West Africa since it broke out in March last year, according to WHO.
The survival rate is very low—somewhere between 60 percent and 90 percent of the people who develop Ebola will die.
According to WHO, some typical signs and symptoms of the infection are intense weakness, onset of fever, muscle pain, headache and sore throat which are followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. n