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After Ebola was first reported in Guinea in March 2014, major outbreaks spread quickly to Sierra Leone and Liberia, and then to Nigeria by August. As the death tolls continue to rise, managing the spread and aiding the affected is urgent not just for West Africa, but also for donor organizations and governments channelling cash and in-kind contributions to the region to fight this deadly disease.
CGD’s work on the Ebola crisis has focused on long-term lessons for health systems in developing countries, the importance of well-qualified leadership at the World Health Organization, the futility of travel bans, the economic cost of the crisis for the affected West African countries, and the importance of tracking funding for donor accountability.
The 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa was a disturbing demonstration of the inadequacy of international institutions to assist the affected peoples or learn how to better treat and prevent their illness. Experts on a CGD panel discussed their experiences working on crisis response during the Ebola outbreak—and how we can do better.
The 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic broke out and affected thousands of people at a time when there were no medicines approved to treat or prevent Ebola. Poor infrastructure, capacity gaps, widespread mistrust, and disagreements over the design and ethical nature of any clinical trials complicated efforts to conduct research on investigational drugs and vaccines. In the wake of the outbreak, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine tasked a committee with analyzing the clinical trials carried out during the outbreak and developing recommendations to improve the implementation of such trials in the future. In this session, committee members Gerald Keusch and David Peters will discuss findings from the committee’s recently released report and the kind of governance structures that need to be in place for effective international coordination and collaboration.
Consider this statement: Science knows how to deal with a pandemic outbreak, but policy gets in the way. That was how we framed a recent event at CGD with key people who led the US government’s response to the Ebola outbreak in 2014. Drawing from that event, this podcast brings you some ideas of how to improve the global system of response and increase our preparedness for the next inevitable outbreak. Speakers include Jeremy Konyndyk, Amy Pope, David Smith, Rebecca Martin, and Amanda Glassman.