2016 / Editorial / Photo Essay

Ebola Aftermath - The country is leaving behind its back the Ebola nightmare.

  • Photographer
    Alessandro Gandolfi

On November 6th, 2015, Sierra Leone has been declared “Ebola-free” by WHO. On May 2015 (six months before), after almost one year schools reopened and people want their normality back: celebrating, smiling, greeting friends shaking their hands. The awakening has been brutal, as it's not just about the high number of victims (officially they were almost 4,000 but probably they're a lot more): "Unemployment is really high - explains Maria Carr of Italian ngo COOPI - and there's a great problem with the kids who lost their parents because of the Ebola virus. And in these months with closed school adolescent pregnancies grew a lot". The whole economy in Sierra Leone seems knocked out: there's no money to pay salaries, commerce almost stopped, mining is in crisis, a lot of foreigners went away and many companies have temporarily closed. "Ebola is under control - says Joseph Turay, 49 years old, Chancellor of the Makeni University - but its social impact has been devastating, the clock was set back fifteen years. Ebola must be a lesson: it taught us we need to strenghten our healthcare and education all over the country. This way we'll be ready to face our future challenges".