Ebola dominated the headlines about Africa in 2014, but while the Western media was caught up in hysteria, the key lesson of the outbreak was the dysfunctional state of health infrastructure in West Africa and the lack of a coordinated continental response . And, a new Cambridge University study suggests, policies imposed by the International Monetary Fund had led African governments to slash spending on the public health system , leaving them unable to hire and train sufficient staff to cope with the crisis.
But the picture wasn’t all gloomy. Nigeria, despite its dysfunction and corruption, impressed the world with a public health response that effectively contained Ebola . African musicians like Salif Keita and Amadou and Mariam released an Ebola song that delivered crucial information about how to prevent infection. For all the hype and bluster in U.S. media, it was local doctors and medical personnel that bore the brunt of the burden of fighting Ebola in Africa, while more direct medical assistance came from Cuba than from the United States.
Nigeria, which claims to be Africa’s largest democracy and is now also the continent’s largest economy , was more effective in containing Ebola than in coping with […]