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Managing health crises after Ebola: Key resources

As first seen in

By: Rachel Thomas

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 UN, the WHO and governments

The outbreak is being fought by more individuals and institutions than can ever be listed. But there are a few key players.

At the international level, the World Health Organization (WHO) is primarily responsible for coordinating the overall response. Its dedicated website publishes data about the status of the epidemic and other information such as advice and official health messages. Its ‘situation reports’ summarise how the epidemic is progressing and the challenges currently facing responders. The organisation’s involvement is detailed in its Ebola Response Roadmapdesigned to help responders make and implement operational plans. A report by the WHO director-general published in early January outlines the challenges for the international response and addresses criticisms by the medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) that reaction to this outbreak has been irresponsible and too slow.