As bodies littered the streets and the sick lay dying in front of overwhelmed clinics last year, President Obama ordered the largest American intervention ever in a global health crisis, hoping to stem the deadliest Ebola epidemic in history.
But after spending hundreds of millions of dollars and deploying nearly 3,000 troops to build Ebola treatment centers, the United States ended up creating facilities that have largely sat empty.
The conventional wisdom among public health authorities is that the Ebola virus, which killed at least 10,000 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, was a new phenomenon, not seen in West Africa before 2013. The conventional wisdom is wrong!
In her small, rural village, 18-year-old Isatu Sesay has fought through tragedy to support herself and her two younger brothers.
Struck down with fever, aches and the cruel advance of Ebola, her father fell first, as the epidemic peaked in December 2014.
"My mother took care of him. Then she died too, leaving the three of us, me and my brothers, Salifu Conteh and Mohamed Conteh," she said.
Guinean President Alpha Conde has declared a 45-day "health emergency" in five regions in the west and south-west of the country over Ebola. The restrictions include the quarantining of hospitals and clinics where new cases are detected, new rules on burials and possible lockdowns.
Liberia’s last Ebola patient was discharged on Thursday after a ceremony in the capital, Monrovia, bringing to zero the number of known cases in the country and marking a milestone in West Africa’s BATTLE against the disease.
A couple of dozen students sat quietly inside the C.D.B. King Elementary School’s dim and dusty auditorium on their first morning back. Despite the stuffy heat, many of the children wore long sleeves and trousers that covered as much skin as possible.A second grader wore pink knit mittens that muffled the sound of his clapping when the teachers introduced themselves.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called for a "Marshall Plan" for the Ebola-affected countries of West Africa. She was referring to the massive US aid programme for Europe launched after World War Two. Her comments came after Sierra Leone was immediately granted more than $80m (£52m) to help end the Ebola outbreak and recover from its effects.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed almost 10,000 people, but it appears the number of people dying from the virus is finally slowing down. The battle against the disease has taken a severe toll on healthcare services in Sierra Leone, with child immunisation rates down and people not affected by the disease dying because they are unable to get help.
New cases were plummeting. The president lifted travel restrictions, and schools were to reopen. A local politician announced on the radio that two 21-day incubation cycles had passed with no new infections in his Freetown neighborhood. The country, many health officials said, was “on the road to zero.” Then Ebola washed in from the sea.
The vice-president of Sierra Leone has put himself into quarantine after one of his bodyguards died from Ebola. Samuel Sam-Sumana said he would stay out of contact with others for 21 days as a precaution.
The first rapid blood test for Ebola has been approved for use by the World Health Organization. It should allow patients to be identified, isolated and cared for as quickly as possible in an attempt to bring an end to the outbreak that has killed more than 9,300 people.It is less accurate than conventional tests, but takes minutes rather than hours to get a result.
Many schools in Liberia have reopened, six months after they were closed to try to curb the spread of Ebola.
Pupils welcomed the move, but some raised fears that the deadly disease had not yet been totally eradicated.
For six weeks, American doctor Kwan Kew Lai kept a blog, almost every day, while she volunteered at an Ebola treatment center in Liberia.
Aid workers fighting Ebola in Guinea are being subjected to an average of 10 attacks every month, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says. The latest assault happened on Sunday when two ICRC volunteers were beaten by suspicious locals while trying to conduct a safe burial, the group said.
Over 3,700 people have died from Ebola in Liberia, leaving families and communities devastated.
But the outbreak also revealed how this profoundly impoverished state was simply in no position to deal with such a crisis.
Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf spoke to Newshour about whether Ebola would leave another blemish on a country already scarred by years of civil war.
The government's response to the Ebola outbreak was "far too slow" and may have contributed to the loss of lives, a committee of MPs has said. The Public Accounts Committee said the government did not release funds quickly enough to deal with the crisis. It also said the decision to suspend flights to areas affected by the disease had been "political".
With the number of cases of the Ebola virus declining, the United States has begun removing troops from the three worst-hit nations. The White House and the Pentagon hailed the mission as a success.
A sea of rusted, tin-roofed shanties cascades chaotically to the Atlantic. Between the makeshift shelters of Kroo Bay, a slum in the capital of Sierra Leone, people wash, cook, urinate, and repair roofs, radios, and engines. White banners reading "Ebola: No Touch Am" ("Don't touch" in Krio, a creole language widely spoken in Sierra Leone) droop from crumbling walls—a reminder of the invisible killer ravaging the country, which spreads through bodily contact.
The international community's mobilization in the global Ebola response has been "very impressive and effective" but efforts to reach zero cases must continue unabated, a top United Nations humanitarian official has confirmed.
When much of the media coverage of the Ebola crisis began to slow in November, daily case counts in Sierra Leone were still growing exponentially. So Ebola Deeply teamed up with Okayafrica, who flew to Freetown on New Year's Eve in the midst of a countrywide State of Emergency. This resulting video series, Ebola On The Ground, will be rolled out over the course of the next few weeks.