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Opinion Pieces Discuss Issues Surrounding Ebola Response

The Lancet: Ebola: burying the bodies
David L. Heymann, head and senior fellow at the Chatham House Center on Global Health Security and professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

“…The difficult and heroic work of [burial teams in West Africa] might have been made easier had [those who could contribute] social and behavioral insights been called upon at the time decisions were made about how to safely handle the dead. … One of the lessons from the recent Ebola outbreaks in West Africa is becoming clear — earlier urban and rural community engagement through traditional leaders and elders might have contributed to more rapid containment. Once people learn from a trusted source, they have the knowledge they need for full and safe participation. … [F]uture body teams must work hand in hand with those who understand social behavior, and who can engage communities in providing safe care for those who are sick, and safe burial for those who have died” (10/31).

The Hill: Ebola one year later
Jeff Schlegelmilch, managing director for strategic planning and operations at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Earth Institute at Columbia University

“…The much criticized response of the World Health Organization and other global institutions to the Ebola crisis demonstrates that reliance solely on public sector institutions is not a sufficient disaster response system. The cases of private sector action in response to Ebola demonstrates that there are alternate ways of approaching disasters that add value to the overall response. Identifying new ways for these parallel efforts to work in greater collaboration with each other will not only improve the response to future events, but will also increase resilience, and the ability for communities to recover stronger and faster in the aftermath of a major disaster” (10/29).

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