This report is for supervisors managing ongoing Ebola outbreaks, or working on preparedness and recovery activities in regions at risk of, or affected by, Ebola epidemics. It is based on rapid and intensive ethnographic field research in Equateur Province, Democratic Republic of Congo, undertaken less than a month after the epidemic was declared over in July 2018. The research comprised 60 separate open-ended, semi-structured interviews with local health workers, government officials and administrators, Ebola survivors and their families, community leaders, and national and international responders. The overall finding of the report is that an Ebola epidemic, along with the way the response itself is conducted, can have significant social, psychological, economic, and health impacts for the communities involved. By providing a close, qualitative reportage on perceptions of the epidemic and the response in Equateur Province, the report aims to render tangible the social,
This briefing note summarises the rationale behind a symposium held in South Africa, which objectives were: to provide a quick overview of gender-sensitive practices which have been effective in preventing and coping with HIV/AIDS in communities in the aftermath of violent conflict; to identify strategies that empower men and women recently affected by violent conflict to engage more effectively in HIV/AIDS prevention; and to explore the practical implications of HIV/AIDS prevention for building sustainable peace.
Rachel Thomas maps out the various institutions involved in the response and reviews communication challenges. The ongoing outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is the largest and longest since the virus was discovered four decades ago. Many organisations have been fighting this epidemic and grappling with social, cultural and political factors.
The need for social science and effective communications when responding to outbreaks is clearer than ever, as is the need to look critically for lessons that can guide future efforts. The resources below summarise the various institutions helping to fight the epidemic and highlight communication efforts.
The creation of women and girls safe spaces (WGSS) has emerged as a key strategy for the protection and empowerment of women and girls affected by the Syrian crisis. This document provides an overview of what safe spaces are and what key principles should be followed when establishing such spaces in humanitarian and post-crisis contexts. This guidance is based on the experiences of UNFPA and its partners in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. It also refers to experiences documented by the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) coordination mechanisms in Jordan and Lebanon.The key objectives of a safe space are to provide an area where women and girls can socialize and re-build their social networks; acquire contextually relevant skills and access multi-sectorial GBV response services and information on issues relating to women’s rights, health, and services. In the Syrian context, women have become more isolated as a consequence of the crisis but evidence suggests that the establishment of women- and/or girl-only spaces helps to reduce risks and prevent further harm during acute emergency responses.
Failings during the early months of the Ebola outbreak caused the epidemic to become an unprecedented health crisis in West Africa. This cannot be repeated.
The Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to AdvanceClimate Change Adaptation(SREX) was commissioned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)in response to a recognised need to provide specific advice on climate change, extreme weather and climate events(‘climate extremes’). The SREX report was written over two and a half years, compiled by220 expert authors, 19 review editors and taking account of almost 19,000 comments. It went through three rigorous drafting processes with expert and government review. The findings were approved by the world’s governments following a four-day meeting, where theSummary for Policy Makers was agreed. It thus provides the bestscientific assessment available to date. It comprises a policy summary released in November2011 and the full report released in March 2012 (available online at http://ipcc-wg2.gov/srex).This summary highlights the key findings of the SREX report from an African perspective,including an assessment of the science and the implications of this for society and sustainable development.
Reports into the Ebola outbreak overemphasise the role of the World Health Organisation while neglecting the importance of local community responses.
The Ebola outbreak currently affecting West Africa is the most serious trans-national medical emergency in modern times. It has the potential to become a global health crisis. Many of the countries affected already have weak health systems, which are now stretched to breaking point. The health authorities have a limited capacity to respond and in a context of widespread fear and misunderstanding about the nature of the disease and how to prevent it.
Alongside addressing human resourcing, health system and pharmaceutical challenges, social mobilisation is increasingly recognised as a key component of any strategy that aims to bring the Ebola outbreak under control. This helpdesk seeks to establish what lessons have been learnt from the current and previous Ebola outbreaks. It recommends good practice and makes suggestions based on the evidence for good practice and preparedness to reduce transmission and prevent further risk and exposure in affected countries.