A new World Bank report indicates that the deaths of health care workers during the Ebola crisis in the three most hit West African countries could lead to a sharp rise in maternal mortality rate in the affected countries. The loss of health workers due to the Ebola epidemic in in the sub-region the report said may result in an additional 4,022 deaths of women each year across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as a result of complications in pregnancy and childbirth.

According to the new World Bank report Healthcare Worker Mortality and the Legacy of the Ebola Epidemic published in The Lancet Global Health today, the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa could leave a legacy significantly beyond the deaths and disability caused directly by the disease itself. “The loss of health workers to Ebola could increase maternal deaths up to rates last seen in these countries 15-20 years ago,” says Markus Goldstein, Lead Economist at the World Bank Group and a co-author of the report who heads the World Bank’s Africa Gender Innovation Lab.

The paper estimates how the loss of health workers to Ebola will likely affect non-Ebola mortality even after the countries are declared Ebola-free. Maternal mortality could increase by 38% in Guinea, 74% in Sierra Leone, and 111% in Liberia.

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