Effects of the West Africa Ebola Virus Disease on Healthcare Utilization – A Systematic Review

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Health systems must be supported in maintaining routine and preventative health service delivery before and during disasters, to achieve the best health outcomes and build a more resilient health system.

The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa greatly and directly impacted health and health systems, substantially affecting health service delivery in the short- and long-term in the affected countries. However, understanding how the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa indirectly affected health may improve health in future disasters by guiding policy for strengthening health systems. This review synthesized the currently available literature in order to assess the magnitude of the indirect health effects of the West Africa Ebola outbreak. Clear reductions in health service utilization were seen in multiple services, especially reproductive, maternal and child health services, while the uptake of health service provision also decreased. The changes resulted in an increase in non-Ebola morbidity and mortality that may be greater than the direct effects of Ebola itself.

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