“Business is able to build trust, reduce risk and increase investment. We are able to drive awareness, raise funding, work in communities using our own internal capacity and infrastructure to assist with training and research,” said Anuschka Coovadia, head of healthcare at KPMG in South Africa.
Graça Machel, the keynote speaker, said the epidemic had exposed weaknesses in African institutions. She also criticised governments for their delayed reaction to the Ebola outbreak.
“We don’t seem to have learnt lessons from the HIV pandemic. We had hundreds of thousands of Africans dying of AIDS before we took the relevant measures to understand that HIV/AIDS can be prevented and those affected can live a long and productive life. It took us a long time to learn that families would be affected. Now with the Ebola outbreak, it is as if those lessons did not register,” she said.
(READ MORE: WHO declares end of separate Ebola outbreak in Congo)
Machel recognised the work done by the African Union (AU) in bringing business and governments together in Addis Ababa to work on a strategy to respond to the Ebola outbreak.
She also acknowledged entrepreneurs who contributed to the fight including billionaire Aliko Dangote who has contributed 800,000 US dollars and Patrice Motsepe 1 million US dollars.
Machel said that Africans should use their knowledge and expertise to find a solution to the problem instead of looking to Western governments for the answer.
The Ebola epidemic has caused the continent a loss of 3 billion US dollars.
“What is especially significant is not that this loss isn’t being driven by the provision of medical services, but it is being driven by the feeling that it is a problem of the poor. However, this is not just an African problem, it impacts the whole world,” said Coovadia.