This comment piece identifies problematic assumptions behind communication and social mobilisation strategies which rely on using biomedicine to correct local logics and concerns and which cast them as misinformation. The effectiveness of using standardised advice for non-standardised situations is questioned.
This brief summarises some key considerations about the flow and control of money in relation to the Ebola response. The details have been collated from suggestions and insights provided by networks of anthropologists who work in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea (both in country and remotely). These are general considerations that are broadly relevant, but further investigation into local specificities is required. The French version of the brief is available here.
This briefing summarises the attitudes of Monrovia community leaders and residents towards cremation, mass burials, memorialization, and remembrance ceremonies based on data collected between August – September 2014.
We propose that the point of discharge of someone who has survived Ebola virus disease (EVD) should become a staged transition back into the community, linked to a social contract that ties targeted support to adherence to infection control practices. This offers important benefits to how people perceive the infectious risk of survivors, improved social cohesion through collectively agreed stages of re-integration, and a mechanism for directing psychosocial and material support to those who most need it.
‘Stigma’ is an umbrella term for the direct and indirect consequences of a number of processes that brand someone as different in ways that result in discrimination, loss of status and social exclusion. It can be short-term or evolve into a long-term and life-long issue. Who and how people are being socially labelled – plus the material, political, social and moral consequences of this labelling – often change rapidly throughout the course of an epidemic, particularly from the early stages of an emerging outbreak to Continue reading →
The limited evidence available on age-disaggregated fatality rates of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) consistently highlights the poor survival rates of older people compared with young adults. The particular roles that older people play in societies put them at differing patterns of risk of contracting EVD compared with younger adults. While many older people will be less likely to undertake at-risk care and burial practices, those with for example fostering or non- formal caring roles may be at increased risk of transmission. Older people, in particular Continue reading →
Survivors are rapidly becoming a strategic population for the Ebola Outbreak response. The public health potential of this group appear to be manifold—from safe burials and the care for orphan children to community outreach and the donation of blood for clinical trials. There are a number of stories emerging from the field of survivors who refuse to leave Ebola Treatment Units, offering their support in caring for new patients. Data regarding the status and experience of survivors is somewhat thin, although anthropological experience of the Continue reading →
Christopher J. M. Whitty and colleagues explain why the United Kingdom is funding many small community centres to isolate suspected cases in Sierra Leone. The UK government is leading the international response to Ebola in Sierra Leone, providing technical, financial and logistical help. This article sets out the scientific basis for the UK government’s strategy to assist Sierra Leone’s government to reduce transmission. In addition to substantially scaling up conventional capacities at hospitals, the UK plan to help to build and support community isolation centres where Continue reading →
Current Ebola epidemic control policy in Sierra Leone focuses on (a) triage and isolation in decentralised, ideally community-based Ebola Care Units (ECUs), leading to (b) transfer to Ebola treatment units (ETUs) for those diagnosed as positive. Increasing early presentation to ECUs is essential for this strategy to be effective in reducing Ro. This note outlines ways in which improved and socially-appropriate care – in ECUs, and at home – can assist this.
This brief summarises some key considerations about mobilising youth and youth groups in the Ebola response in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The details have been collated from suggestions and insights provided by networks of anthropologists in the UK and US who work in Sierra Leone and Liberia (both in-‐country and remotely). These are general considerations that are broadly relevant to mobilising youth in the response, but further investigation into local specificities is required. The French version of the brief is available here.