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Social Science in Epidemics: Cholera Lessons Learned

This report is the first instalment of the ‘Social Science in Epidemics’ series, commissioned by the USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Direct Assistance (OFDA). In this series, past outbreaks are reviewed in order to identify social science ‘entry points’ for emergency interventions and preparedness activities. The aim is to determine tangible ways to address the […]

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Communicating Risk in Public Health Emergencies

During public health emergencies, people need to know what health risks they face, and what actions they can take to protect their health and lives. Accurate information provided early, often, and in languages and channels that people understand, trust and use, enables individuals to make choices and take actions to protect themselves, their families and communities from […]

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Risk Communication and Community Engagement (‎RCCE)‎ Considerations: Ebola Response in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

This document was developed by the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Programme as a resource for the response to the Ebola Virus Disease (Ebola) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in May 2018. It is intended to be used to guide risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) work which is central to stopping […]

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The One Health Approach to Identify Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices that Affect Community Involvement in the Control of Rift Valley Fever Outbreaks

Rift Valley Fever (RVF) is a viral mosquito-borne disease with the potential for global expansion, causes hemorrhagic fever, and has a high case fatality rate in young animals and in humans. Using a cross-sectional community-based study design, we investigated the knowledge, attitudes and practices of people living in small village in Sudan with respect to […]

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Ebola: Limitations of Correcting Misinformation

Communication and social mobilisation strategies to raise awareness about Ebola virus disease and the risk factors for its transmission are central elements in the response to the current Ebola outbreak in west Africa. A principle underpinning these efforts is to change risky “behaviour” related to “traditional” practices and “misinformation”. Populations at risk of contracting Ebola […]

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Local Engagement in Ebola Outbreaks and Beyond in Sierra Leone

Containment strategies for Ebola rupture fundamental features of social, political and religious life. Control efforts that involve local people and appreciate their perspectives, social structures and institutions are therefore vital. Unfortunately such approaches have not been widespread in West Africa where response strategies have been predominantly top-down. Authoritarian tactics have had questionable effect, potentially worsening […]

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Social Mobilization and Community Engagement Central to the Ebola Response in West Africa: Lessons for Future Public Health Emergencies.

Following the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern regarding the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in July 2014, UNICEF was asked to co-lead, in coordination with WHO and the ministries of health of affected countries, the communication and social mobilization component-which UNICEF refers to as communication for development […]

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The First Mile: Community Experience of Outbreak Control during an Ebola Outbreak in Luwero District, Uganda

A major challenge to outbreak control lies in early detection of viral haemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) in local community contexts during the critical initial stages of an epidemic, when risk of spreading is its highest (“the first mile”). In this paper we document how a major Ebola outbreak control effort in central Uganda in 2012 was […]

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Engaging ‘Communities’: Anthropological Insights from the West African Ebola Epidemic

The recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa highlights how engaging with the sociocultural dimensions of epidemics is critical to mounting an effective outbreak response. Community engagement was pivotal to ending the epidemic and will be to post-Ebola recovery, health system strengthening and future epidemic preparedness and response. Extensive literatures in the social sciences have emphasized […]

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