• 2:25 pm March 27, 2015

WATCHING THE EBOLA RELIEF FUNDS.

Abiola Afolabi

Ebola Virus was first reported in West Africa on 23 March 2014, and it is acclaimed the deadliest occurrence of the disease since its discovery in 1976. The epidemic swept across the region and a year on from the first confirmed case, it has killed more than 10,000 people in six different countries; Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, the US and Mali.

Statistic: Ebola cases and deaths related to outbreaks in African countries as of March 25, 2015* | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

The outbreak started in Guinea, which is a major trading center and crossed the border to Liberia. It was confirmed in Sierra Leone in May 2014. Nigeria had its first case of the disease in July, a man, Patrick Sawyer from Liberia had traveled in despite having been infected with the virus and kept it a secret.

The crisis of the Ebola virus has caused huge economic and human consequences for the sub-region with nearly 5,000 lives lost according to data from the World Health Organization. It is also stated that due to travel controls, business shutdowns and emergency nature of the disease, West Africa countries, the World Bank has stated the disease can cost West Africa countries at least $32.6bn by the end of 2015 if it’s not quickly contained. This amount is greater than the GDP of the major inflicted countries (Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea) and also equivalent to Nigeria’s annual national budget.

A year later, situation report by the WHO shows that the disease is now being controlled, there are improvements in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, these countries are experiencing a great decline in the number of cases and deaths recorded while Nigeria has been declared Ebola free by the World Health Organization.

Private Organizations, Governmental and International donors raised donations, funds and support projects to mitigate the impact of the diseases in Ebola-afflicted countries.The World Health Organisation estimated resource requirements based on response roadmap to contain the virus and contributions received.
With over $2.3bn raised and continuous support from local organizations and public in Western Countries. Considering the challenge of service delivery and corruption across the sub-region, however, there is a lot of concern about the efficiency of funds pledged by the International, private, public and donor communities.

The concern here is the lack of transparency and accountability for the relief funds raised for the treatment and containment of Ebola Virus across West Africa sub-region. For example, Nigeria’s Government has pledged over $5 million across the sub-region, Australian Government donated $1 million, Dangote Foundation pledged $1 million, DFID/Welcome Trust has given a total sum of 6.5 million GBP and the World Bank has even committed over $200 million. The British Public has also raised 8 million British Pounds for two weeks, which will be provided to severely affected areas that need quarantine and crisis containments.

Considering the challenge of weak institutions and capacity to manage funds in times of emergency, BudgIT has reviewed and adopted a “Follow The Money” approach across the sub-region to curate, track and demand transparency and accountability for relief funds raised for the Ebola Virus. We plan to use the expertise of our partners to raise concerns on the disbursement of Ebola relief funds. Please follow the project here, Ebola Watch Funds.