Africa APPG & Polygeia report launch | Lessons from Ebola affected communit...

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time

Location

Location

Committee Room 11

House of Commons

Parliament

London

SW1A 0AA

United Kingdom

View Map

Event description

Description

Launch of the Africa APPG report with Polygeia


Lessons from Ebola affected communities: being prepared for future health crises.

Speakers:

  • Professor Aliko Ahmed, co-convener of the Better Health for Africa Group, Chair of Public Health Africa Initiative and a Director at Public Health England

  • Kate Muhwezi, Sierra Leone Director Manager at Restless Development

  • Susan Elden, DFID health adviser based in Sierra Leone during & after the outbreak

  • Tom Hird and Samara Linton, Co-lead writers of the report at Polygeia

Closing remarks from DFID Minister: Nick Hurd MP, DFID Parliamentary Under Secretary of State

Chair: Lord Chidgey

By the 20th January 2016, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa had killed 11,316 people since it began just over two years before. The outbreak exposed under-resourced over-burdened health systems in the affected countries and weaknesses in the international response. During the outbreak, the UK played a key role in supporting Sierra Leone with £427m channelled, principally through DFID, into a range of research and medical, technical and logistical support to the Sierra Leone government, front-line NGOs and other vital actors.

The Africa APPG organised a series of parliamentary panel discussions between October 2014 and May 2015 on the international Ebola response. Panellists who had worked in Ebola-affected communities agreed repeatedly that the response was hindered by fear and a lack of trust between national and international actors and affected communities. Consequently, the APPG, together with Polygeia, launched an enquiry into community engagement in the response. This report reviews the evidence submitted by key informants through interviews as well as a literature review as well as interviews with 23 key informants conducted in Sierra Leone by Restless Development and in Liberia by Public Health & Development Initiative (PHDI) on behalf of the APPG to ensure the voices of affected communities were represented in the report.

A diverse range of actors were involved in the response in West Africa. They often had different priorities and strategies and not every strategy was successful. In the early stages of the response mistrust of and resistance to responders was indicative of a lack of community engagement. This report analyses different groups in the community (e.g. Women, Youth, Community Leaders etc.) and highlights the crucial role they played in successful operations to control Ebola.

The report finds that response efforts were most effective when demand was created at the community level. It therefore advocates that although a top down approach (nationally and internationally) may always be necessary in a health crisis such as Ebola, it is only effective when the people affected trust that response. The report acknowledges that during a health crisis the need to react rapidly makes it almost impossible to consult communities. However, the key lesson in ensuring preparedness for future health crises is that the focus should be on building health systems horizontally, prioritising local ownership by investing in communities.

The launch of the report will explain the key findings of the report and allow for further discussion and exploration of the suggestions and recommendations amongst a diverse audience of policy makers & influencers, NGOs, private sector and parliamentarians.

Date and Time

Location

Committee Room 11

House of Commons

Parliament

London

SW1A 0AA

United Kingdom

View Map

Save This Event

Event Saved