BLOG: How to respond to Ebola outbreak at SHRH2014?


Egbert Sondorp, KIT Senior Advisor Health is part of the Thematic Working Group on Health systems in fragile and conflict affected States.

Sondorp: “Today, at the Health Systems Global Symposium in Cape Town, we organised a special and well attended lunch-time session around the ebola outbreak in West-Africa. The outbreak is devastating the most affected countries, through the deaths of many ebola victims, but also due to the collapse of the countries’ health systems, no longer able to address regular health issues like malaria or delivery care.

Step up immediate response

The Thematic Working Group on Health Systems in Fragile States, together with USAID, organised this session to discuss the response and the potential role of health system research. A personal account from Sierra Leone was followed by statements from various stakeholders, like NGOs, donors and WHO. There were strong pleas to still step up the immediate response and send more needed resources, like protective clothing.

Produce resilient health systems

There was also a plea from World Bank’s Tim Evans to work on improvement of the Global Health System. If a local health system can’t cope, a global system should be able to step in. But this is currently not in place, lacking the right governance, human resources and rapid financing mechanism. Finally, there were pleas to step up research to enable learning the lessons from the current outbreak to do better next time, and, more in general, to invest in research that could enable to produce more resilient health systems better able to withstand serious external shocks.”