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Republic of Liberia - Ebola Disease Effects

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Liberia/Republic of Liberia, its capital being Monrovia and on the West African coast. Its neighboring countries are Sierra Leone to its west, Guinea to its north and Ivory Coast to its east. Liberia being close to the Atlantic Ocean strays away from the typical dry African grasslands being mainly covered in tropical rainforests and the landscape being mostly shaped flat and rolling coastal plains to plateaus and low mountains in the north east.

GDP per capita

Male Life Expectancy

Female Life Expectancy



Death rate






Drinking Water (%)


Access (%)


2.34 bill










1.39 trill









Liberia’s wellbeing is lower than Australia’s due to the factors of birth rate, literacy, doctors and sanitation access vastly differ. The very high birth rate is due to the Liberia not having a stable pension system, people rely on their children to support them when they are elderly suggesting a hard lifestyle. Literacy rates are lower in Liberia, suggesting that future generations will have a harder time finding decent paying jobs and must work low paying, long, strenuous jobs compared to Australia’s 99% literacy rate. The number of doctors available and level of sanitation also affects wellbeing, so due to Liberia’s lack of doctors, poor facilities and methods viruses such as Ebola get out of hand and spread rapidly.

Cause of Issue:

Physical factors including that 50% of Liberia’s population living in rural Liberia and the majority of land being natural. Pollution of rivers, polluted drinking water sources due to dumping of household and human waste which would’ve also spread the disease. Deforestation has also played a part in the spread, as reducing the living area of the infected wildlife, means that there is more human contact and less chance of escape so they inevitably become the poisonous bush meat.

 Culturally bush meat is one of the essential protein sources and most readily available with the way the landscape is. This is the way of life for generations for many West African people. Bush meat such as rats, monkeys and bats are believed to be the leading cause of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia as many people relied on it for protein as domesticated livestock can be extremely expensive. Hunters and butchers were the first transition of the virus to humans due to them being the most vulnerable to the virus due to bites, scratches, contact with feces or bodily fluid of sick animals. Sick animals were more likely to be trapped since they are slower or might already be dead when they are found. Due to the use of primitive traps and not being sterilised there was also the chance that the virus could multiply itself with the next animal caught as they would sometimes sit for long periods of time before being checked. Bodies that were infected were highly contagious after death so the Liberian government ordered all bodies to be cremated, but there were people who refused and buried bodies. It was found that dogs were digging up and eating the infected bodies and became another carrier of the disease infecting more people. According to Bausch due to poverty, weak governance, domestic unrest has perhaps created the worst Ebola outbreak in history.

Impact of Issue:

Employment stayed relatively similar, with wage and agricultural workers returning to work but those who were self-employed, hunters, butchers and traders at markets were the most affected with the outbreak. There was a large spike in orphans of about 16,600 children having lost one or both parents and due to the fears around Ebola most were abandoned. Liberia’s GDP also took a hit as trade and tourism decreased. Trade was heavily impacted as borders to other countries were closed off, international transport to and from Liberia were banned and investors postponed their investments in Liberia, waiting the epidemic to settle and see the results. Tourism also drastically decreased which had a negative effect on the economy as 16% of Liberia’s GDP is from tourism. Local hotels and airlines also suffered from a 30% decrease in bookings and a 50-60% decrease in the amount of tourist coming in this period. Famine became an issue as the years progressed as everybody was too afraid to even leave the house including farmers. Farmers ate all their stored food and eventually ate all their seed rice for next year’s crop so even when the epidemic calmed down there were no seeds to grow so most of the population starved.

With only 4 public toilets in the West point area of Monrovia, people used surrounding rivers and lakes as lavatories which posed the risk of spreading Ebola through water, as rivers such as the Mesurado river were used as a drinking source and a source of food through fishing which even the fish had a chance of containing Ebola as they would generally consume the fecal matter. The chimpanzee and gorilla populations were devastated by ebola, with its 95 percent mortality rate and an estimated third of its population gone.



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