Quick Facts: What You Need to Know About the Ebola Fund Watch Report
For more than two years, West African nations –Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria – battled with the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) with the hope of stopping the epidemic that has become one of the most significant public health challenges in modern history.
Although the World Health Organization declared the Ebola Virus Disease an outbreak on 23 March 2014, it was not until 8 August, that it was declared a public health emergency of international concern.
As a result of this impact, the estimated requirements for an adequate response plan for the Ebola Virus Outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria shows the sub-region requires about $2.27 billion to contain and manage the virus.
Now, BudgIT Nigeria with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) has launched the Ebola Fund Watch, a research on the use of funds donated towards Ebola Virus Disease Management across the sub-region.
Here are some of the most important conclusions from the report.
What are the Source(s) of the Ebola Fund Watch Report?
The report is based on a diverse survey plan, which includes interviews with various stakeholders- caregivers, journalists, survivors, victims’ dependants, civil servants and others. The responses from those surveyed were grouped into six categories: Quality of care, Quality of Post Ebola care/follow-up, Quality of preparedness/planning (Budget/Monitoring and Evaluation), Availability of Resources/equipment, quality of remuneration as well as post-Ebola commitment (facilities).
How much is needed to Cure Ebola?
An overview of the requirement for an adequate response plan for the Ebla Virus Outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria shows the sub-region requires about $2.27billion to manage the Ebola Virus. However, data from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) as at November 4, 2015 reveals that only 69 percent of the needed funds have been raised ($1.56billion).
How Was The Ebola Fund Sourced?
Of the $2.27billion needed, 69 percent of the needed fund ($1.56bn) have been raised by the World Bank Group for Ebola response and recovery efforts to support affected countries.
The highest private sector donation to combat Ebola in West Africa was from Paul G. Allen foundation which donated $100million, followed by The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation which pledge a $50 million grant.
Number of Funds Allocated (Who Got the Largest Share?)
Of the total money sourced to eradicate Ebola; Sierra Leone got over $618,223,533; Guinea $330,240,072 while Nigeria received $4,463,098 and Liberia got $1,009,935,411 in donations and support.
Ebola Fund by Country: Guinea
The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic began in Guinea in December 2013 after a 2-year old boy was reported to have fallen ill and died mysteriously. To date, about 4,000 people has been infected while 2,500 in the country.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Sierra Leone (UNOCHA), $300m has been donated to Guinea as at 4th November to combat Ebola. Of the £450million pledged to Ebola countries by the European Union, Guinea was set to receive £148.9m, representing 33 percent of the fund.
In spite of this, there are no audit reports for Ebola funds donated to and received by Guinea. Also, most citizens of Guinea believe the government should be blamed for failing to provide quality healthcare.
At the beginning of the outbreak, the facilities and working equipment available were not adequate and sufficient for the number of cases reported daily. Also, residents killed and attack health workers and mistrust in government aide rumors denying the existence of the Ebola Virus Disease in the country.
Ebola Fund by Country: Nigeria
Of the four countries, Nigeria was the least affected, with 20 cases of EVD and 8 deaths reported by World Health Organisation as at 7 October 2015.
Ebola was first detected in Nigeria when Patrick Sawyer, an infected Liberian-American tourist who flew into Lagos, the country’s capital to attend a seminar in Calabar.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Sierra Leone (UNOCHA), Nigeria received $4.4m in cash and material support. The highest local donation for Ebola relief was from the Federal Government (N200m) followed by Aliko Dangote foundation (N152m) and Tony Elumelu Foundation (N50m).
The Ebola Fund Watch Report cited a whistle blower, Dr. Davidson George who raised allegations of fraud and mismanagement of the N1.9billion Ebola fund. A 15-page report revealed misconduct by the officials of the ministry of Health.
One of the notable traces of the mismanagement of the Ebola Fund was the report on one Professor Abdusalam Nasadi, who received a sum of N250, 000 as local running per kilometer, a N216, 000 airfare for a meeting held in Nigeria as well as a sitting allowance of N375, 000.
Ebola Fund by Country: Liberia
Liberia confirmed its first case of EVD on March 30, 2014. By July 30, the country had to shut own schools, to limit the spread of virus. According to 23 September 2014, there had been 3, 458 total cases, 1,830 deaths and 914 lab confirmed cases. At the height of the epidemic, the country recorded at least 350 cases every week.
Mary Broh, the Director General of the General Services Agency, the body responsible for managing government assets told journalist ministries and agencies are unable to account for vehicles received during the outbreak. She is quoted as saying many vehicles donated to manage in Liberia are now missing and being commercialized in the capital city of Monrovia.
The Ebola Fund Watch Report also revealed that government has been entirely absent in the post-recovery rehabilitation of survivors. The prevailing opinion in public circles is that donor funds were mismanaged.
Ebola Fund by Country: Sierra Leone
Few months after Ebola surfaced in Guinea, it finds its way into Sierra Leone in March 2014. The first confirmed case was that of a young woman admitted to a government health facility in Kenema on 24 May 2014 after she suffered a miscarriage.
According to the report, citing United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Sierra Leone (UNOCHA), Liberia could have received $658m in cash and material support. Within May to October 2014, a report showed the Sierra Leone government spent more than $19million to tackle Ebola.
However, an Auditor General’s report quoted in the Ebola Fund Watch Report revealed that 30 percent of the Ebola funds sent into Sierra Leone were spent without documentation. The ministry of Health and sanitation were noted as having awarded contracts despite insufficient bidder documentation and disregard of the necessary due diligence.
Also, the Auditor General’s report on Ebola fund noted multiple inconsistencies including 26 billion Leones incentive payments for frontline workers without proof of payments. The incentive payment list has names of about 271 ghost workers, totaling 216 million Leones unaccounted for.
Significantly, despite the number of funds received, there were not enough ambulances to pick up the sick. Although there was an emergency number to dial for suspected cases of Ebola but often, respondents surveyed for the Ebola Fund Watch Report said they got no response and things moved so slow that victims had to find their way to the hospital.
More so, most of the respondents lacked the capacity to manage the outbreak, Government did a poor job in sensitizing people, as the message they had only heightened citizen’s fear and did not necessarily teach safe practices to prevent the spread of Ebola. Also, most of the correspondents said foreign and local organisations were more active in their communities than the government.
Recommendations from the Ebola Fund Watch Report
- Government should in the future come out and publish openly whatever funds have been received and state clearly how much it was.
- Donors should pronounce their donations.
- Institutions need to incorporate a monitoring and evaluation framework for future fund spending, to enhance accountability.