Ebola’s Impact on Women and Children in Sierra Leone: Why Accountability Matters

December 15, 2014
12:00 pm - 02:00 pm

About the Event

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has exposed an ineffective healthcare system, poor governance, and deficient institutional capacity in the three most affected countries: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. In Sierra Leone, women and children – who account for nearly seventy percent of Ebola victims – have suffered the most from the mismanaged epidemic. Ebola healthcare workers are predominantly female and, because of the massive diversion of funds to combat Ebola, the number of professional midwives has declined, causing an increase in maternal and infant mortality. Children are the most vulnerable group, including Ebola orphans who are isolated and bereft.  While the international community has launched a coordinated response to the crisis through donations, medical supplies, and military aid, such efforts merely address the symptoms, not the root causes. The Ebola outbreak highlights the systemic corruption and lack of government accountability in Sierra Leone, namely a non-transparent budget and minimal allocation of funds to improving healthcare services. In her presentation, N’yella Maya Rogers evaluated the long-term socio-economic impact of Ebola in Sierra Leone and provided a set of recommendations for the international community, Sierra Leonean citizens, and the diaspora community moving forward. Her presentation was followed by comments by Kamissa Camara.


with comments by

  • Kamissa Camara, National Endowment for Democracy

moderated by

  • Sally Blair, National Endowment for Democracy


International Forum for Democratic Studies
1025 F Street, N.W., Suite 800, Washington, D.C. 20004
Telephone: 202-378-9675

About the Speakers

Ms. N’yella Maya Rogers is a human rights lawyer and legal officer at C.F. Margai & Associates, a law firm based in Freetown, Sierra Leone. She has worked for several human rights organizations in Sierra Leone, including Advocaid, where she investigated cases of wrongfully convicted women on death row. As president of Fourah Bay College’s Human Rights Clinic between 2007 and 2009, she advocated for the enactment of national legislation protecting women and children and participated in the collection and analysis of primary data on women and juveniles. An outspoken women’s rights advocate, she won a scholarship to study international human rights law at Harvard University in 2011 and was selected to deliver the class commencement speech in 2012. Recognizing that interactive online technologies can lower barriers to citizen engagement, even in areas with limited Internet infrastructure, Ms. Rogers is dedicating her fellowship to exploring the use of an online platform that would encourage citizens to address corruption in Sierra Leone.

Kamissa Camara is the Senior Program Officer for Central and West Africa at the National Endowment for Democracy.