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CAS Open Seminar: Prof Ibrahim Abdullah, University of Sierra Leone - Problematizing The Ebola Virus Disease in the Mano River Basin: Sierra Leone Health Infrastructure on the Eve of Ebola

When Nov 05, 2018
from 05:00 PM to 07:00 PM
Where S1, Alison Richard Building
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The responsibility for responding to outbreaks of infectious diseases like EVD is shared by national governments, regional health agencies, and international organisations. The communication and cooperation between these parties have been vital in containing previous outbreaks of EVD. The failure of communication, cooperation, and action in the MRU epidemic underlies some of the core questions of the MRU experience. Why, in this era of globalization, ubiquitous information, and super-fast communication, was the accumulated knowledge and expertise around EVD not quickly utilized in the case of the MRU countries? Why were local communities, the national public health systems, and governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia unable to respond effectively to the spread of the outbreak? Why did international organisations, especially the World Health Organisation (WHO), the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Medecins San Frontieres (MSF), which had been instrumental and relatively successful in curtailing previous outbreaks, fail to contain the initial outbreak in late 2013 and early 2014? What did it take to get MRU governments, the international organisations, and the international community in general to respond robustly to the epidemic? How did the EVD outbreak of 2013-2015 become the largest, most widespread and deadliest in history, infecting more than 28,616 and Killing 11,310 people?  What was it about the MRU EVD outbreak that was different? This lecture will attempt to provide answers to these questions by looking at the broken health infrastructure in Sierra Leone on the eve of the MRU EVD.