“Lessons from the Ebola Crisis in West Africa: Community engagement, crisis communication and countering rumours”, Frida Bjørneseth, Morten Bøås, Henriette Erstad, Alessio Iocchi and Kari Osland (NUPI, Norway)

What lessons can we draw from the 2014-2016 Ebola crisis in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone? While both the outbreak itself and the context is different, there are enough similarities between the Ebola crisis and COVID-19 to extract useful lessons and best practices. In this research note, the focus is on three key lessons from the Ebola experience: community engagement, crisis communication and countering the rumour mill. In the world’s most fragile states, an uncontrolled outbreak of COVID-19 would have devastating consequences for the population. In a scenario where the spread of the coronavirus is under control in large parts of the world, the survival of COVID-19 in fragile states would also most certainly be a source for new waves of infections to the rest of the world. Not only do fragile states lack capacity to react adequately on their own, but their ability to utilise external support and assistance is limited due to low absorption capacity.

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