Ebola, which claimed 22,000 lives in 2014, is only the most prominent of the recent epidemics that have hit the African continent. In 2017, another record number of deaths occurred as an acute viral respiratory infection swept across West Africa, sparking an epidemic in Mali and Liberia (and parts of Guinea). More than 100 people are still dead as a result of the outbreak.
Not included in the official mortality figures from 2017 were those who experienced an abortion or an abortion-related death. For the first time, as part of the series Broken Numbers, we spoke to doctors about how they perceive the death toll. Who were the victims of these deadly health crises? Where did they die? And what stories did they have?
Many countries that border the Ebola region are still recovering from the impact of this epidemic. According to one official, Liberia has experienced between 60 and 80 percent of the deaths from the epidemic. In Uganda, 1,000 infant deaths related to the AIDS epidemic occurred last year.
Overall, 63 percent of health workers surveyed by The Lancet argue that the scale of the health crises reached new peaks or swelled again to previous high points. For many, especially in poor countries, if the epidemic is not controlled, it could reach a level where as many as 1.5 million lives could be lost every year, a number far more lethal than Ebola or measles.
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