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The international response to the Ebola epidemic is on the right path, but there is a long way to go. Case numbers are stabilizing in Liberia and Guinea, but remain out of control in Sierra Leone and the targets for cases treated have not been met. The issues raised by the Ebola crisis go beyond transmission rates, but other issues are not yet being properly addressed. The absence of non-Ebola healthcare capacity is keeping people away from health services and risks prolonging the epidemic; women are dying in childbirth and not accessing prenatal care; preventable illnesses like malaria and diarrhoea are rampant, causing needless deaths. There are around 4,000 new orphans and more new female-headed households. Household incomes are dropping due to the loss of harvests, restrictions on movement and on markets and rising unemployment, which is likely to lead to hunger by March 2015. The macro-economic impacts could cost West Africa $3–4bn.

This Oxfam briefing outlines the key operational challenges and recommends that stepped up action should be taken urgently in multiple areas to contain the spread of the disease and to support those most affected. It is one of a series of Oxfam briefings on the Ebola crisis and response. 

Read more about Oxfam’s response to Ebola

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