A Wake-up Call

Lessons from Ebola for the world's health systems

March 2015


There is general agreement that the Ebola crisis was not quickly contained in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone because their national health systems were dangerously under-resourced, understaffed and poorly equipped.

A Wake-up Call argues that we must learn the lessons of this crisis not just for the three countries but for the many other developing countries whose services are similarly weak.

Failure to do so risks future infectious disease outbreaks that, in our interconnected world, have the potential to lead to global pandemics, including conditions even more infectious than Ebola.

The new Health Access Index ranks countries according to spending on health, number of health workers, coverage of maternal and child health services, and mortality rates. It shows that Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea are far from alone in having weak health systems.

The report goes on to look at how this crisis in health systems in poorer countries can be addressed. It analyses how the funding gap in providing good-quality healthcare for all – not just those who can afford it – can be closed.

A Wake-up Call closes with recommendations for global commitment to universal health coverage – from governments, donors, international institutions and civil society.


PDF icon A Wake-up Call1.66 MB
PDF icon Une sonnette d’alarme1.69 MB
PDF icon Une sonnette d’alarme – résumé347.73 KB

Related reading

The Lottery of Birth: Giving all children an equal chance to survive

Universal Health Coverage: A commitment to close the gap

Within Our Means: Why countries can afford univeral health coverage