[op-ed snap] How Ebola changed a country

  1. Context: Sierra Leone was struck by a deadly epidemic called Ebola in 2014. The crisis in the country was declared over in November 2015
  2. In 2014, WHO officials noted that traditional burial practice of washing bodies of the dead before burial were among the hurdles that were making it difficult to control Ebola
  3. An uphill task for relief workers to convince families to allow trained specialists to safely bury Ebola victims
  4. Social problems: Due to the virus, thousands of children were orphaned
  5. Sierra Leone has seen spike in teenage pregnancy, largely attributed to disruption of already fragile health systems including family planning and birth control, closure of schools and abusive relationships
  6. Many young girls became pregnant after being used as sex slaves by their captors
  7. Radio Education: The closure of schools during the outbreak has had a huge impact on the education of children
  8. Ministry of Education, Science and Technology had commissioned an Emergency Radio Education Programme with support from UNICEF and other partners
  9. Daily programming was based on primary and secondary school curricula in core academic subjects
  10. Access to the initiative was however limited by poor radio signal coverage in rural areas and a scarcity of radios and/or batteries, particularly among poorer households
  11. Role of Ex- child soldiers: They developed organizations that were devised for Ebola education programme which sensitised communities about the dangers of the virus
  12. It provided support to over 8,000 quarantined individuals and set up an Ebola Clinic


  1. Ebola in humans is caused by four of five viruses of the genus Ebolavirus.
  2. The four are Bundibugyo virus (BDBV), Sudan virus (SUDV), Taï Forest virus (TAFV) and one simply called Ebola virus (EBOV, formerly Zaire Ebola virus)


The disease was first identified in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks, one in Nzara, and the other in Yambuku, a village near the Ebola River from which the disease takes its name

Ebola is a rare but deadly virus that causes bleeding inside and outside the body. As the virus spreads through the body, it damages the immune system and organs. Ultimately, it causes levels of blood-clotting cells to drop. This leads to severe, uncontrollable bleeding


Ebola is a long drawn world issue. Hope this op-ed reinforces the basics again. What is more important is the interesting angle of how societal practices affect resolutions of modern day disasters. Case in point being convincing the natives about scientific burial of the Ebola infected dead bodies. Could be an interesting point to put in a relevant essay/ mains question.

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