Testimony on the US Response to the Ebola Epidemic in West Africa

April 08, 2016

On April 7, 2016, CGD’s vice president for programs and director of global health policy Amanda Glassman testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy at a hearing examining progress made in addressing the West Africa Ebola epidemic and its secondary effects.

From the testimony:

Along with my colleagues at the Center, I have been watching the Ebola epidemic unfold in West Africa and keeping a close eye on the world’s response. As you know, this outbreak was unprecedented in scale and impact. Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea endured a total of more than 28,600 cases of the virus and 11,300 deaths. The disease took a heavy toll not only on families, but also on the health systems and economies of the afflicted countries.

By the time the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Ebola a public health emergency in August 2014, it was clear additional resources were urgently needed to help West Africa contain the disease. Congress stepped up to the plate, appropriating $5.4 billion in emergency funding, including nearly $2.5 billion to the US Agency for International Development (USAID) for international response, recovery, and preparedness.

My testimony will focus on three areas, providing specific recommendations to Congress to help West Africa heal and regain lost ground, and to ensure that the United States is better protected and prepared to face future global health threats.

(1) Remain committed to recovery with an approach that addresses the needs of households, health systems, and firms.

(2) Enhance efforts to promote global health security by improving coordination, developing clearer incentives, and exploring new ways to manage risk.

(3) Track money and progress to ensure accountability and learn what works. 

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