In a fast moving and changing world, all kinds of uncertainty will emerge. We need leaders who will listen and adapt. Clear government directives from above are key, but we also need good coordination of local action.
Effective prevention and response are not just about finding the right antidote or timely containment, but it’s also about perceptions, interpretation, narratives, communication, trust and collective engagement.
New SSHAP partner the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (UKPHRST), and their collaborators, explain why social science needs to be localised in epidemic response and introduce a new West African social science network the ‘West Africa Social Science Epidemic Response Network (WASSERN).
As part of the OFDA-funded SSHAP 'social science in epidemics' workstream, we are consulting with people in the field regarding the case studies and tools that we should develop in the second half of 2019.
For the last few years, IDS has been gathering evidence on the social, economic and political dimensions of epidemics in different contexts worldwide, seeking to improve the way social science is used to improve response planning and preparedness.
As suspected Ebola cases continue to go under-reported, people continue to present late at health facilities and treatment units, and those who are untreated continue to die at home, it is only through strengthening community-based surveillance and locally led response actions that the outbreak will be controlled.
Juliet Bedford, Melissa Leach
4 Jun 2019