Sam Scarpino. The three graphs display physicians, hospital beds, and nurses against per capita healthcare spending in four central-African countries.

In a blog post for Nautilus magazine, SFI Omidyar Fellow Sam Scarpino explores why Nigeria has fared better in the Ebola outbreak than neighboring Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, despite their similar per-person healthcare expenditures. 

“It seems that even among countries that spend similar amounts on healthcare, there are important differences in how well that money is used to protect and improve health,” Scarpino writes. He presents three graphs that illustrate per-capita healthcare spending against number of hospital beds, number of physicians, and number of nurses. The graphs relay “a complicated picture, whereby Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia appear less adept at translating healthcare spending into healthcare infrastructure.” 

In the full post, Scarpino discusses the historical connection between poverty and disease, and touches on how corruption and civil war may or may not factor into a country’s ability to convert money to healthcare infrastructure. He also calculates the amount of capital that would be required to stop the Ebola outbreak, considering the abilities of the affected countries to translate healthcare funding to healthcare infrastructure.

Read the post in Nautilus (January 12, 2015)