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Knowledge, Support From Local Leaders, Communities Essential To Disease Outbreak Response Efforts

Washington Post: Two years ago, Ebola became a public health emergency. Here are 5 lessons for fighting Zika
Amy S. Patterson, professor of politics at the University of the South

“…My fieldwork [responding to Ebola] in Liberia this year yields five insights. 1. Communities have vital information in health emergencies. … 2. Traditional practices can be adapted to save lives. … 3. Religious organizations can be crucial players in health crises … 4. Communities took responsibility for themselves — and took action to slow and stop Ebola. … 5. If communities don’t trust the government, the government can’t act effectively. … As health experts look to combat other infectious diseases that cross international borders, such as Zika, they must think local. Public health officials need to consider how to bring in community leaders and to use traditional practices in culturally appropriate ways” (8/8).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.