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Ebola and Extractive Industry

The economic effects of the Ebola health crisis are slowly unfolding as the virus continues to affect Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The most important sector is mining as these three countries share a rich iron ore geological beltway. The macroeconomic impacts of the crisis came into sharp focus when London Mining, Sierra Leone’s second […]

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Urbanisation, the Peri-Urban Growth and Zoonotic Disease

Ebola has had significant, negative effects in the rapidly expanding, unregulated areas of peri-urban and urban West Africa. The residents of these areas maintain vital connections with rural populations while intermingling with and living in close proximity to urban and elite populations. These interconnections fuel the spread of Ebola. The degradation of natural resources, temporary […]

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The Pathology of Inequality: Gender and Ebola in West Africa

The international response to Ebola has been decried for being ‘too slow, too little, too late’. As well as racing to respond, we need to consider what has happened over the past decades to leave exposed fault lines that enabled Ebola to move so rapidly across boundaries of people’s bodies, villages, towns and countries. Gender […]

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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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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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Zoonoses – From Panic to Planning

Over two thirds of all human infectious diseases have their origins in animals. The rate at which these zoonotic diseases have appeared in people has increased over the past 40 years, with at least 43 newly identified outbreaks since 2004. In 2012, outbreaks included Ebola in Uganda, yellow fever in the Democratic Republic of Congo […]

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Unintended Consequences of the ‘Bushmeat Ban’ in West Africa during the 2013-2016 Ebola Virus Disease Epidemic

Following the 2013-2016 outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa, governments across the region imposed a ban on the hunting and consumption of meat from wild animals. This injunction was accompanied by public health messages emphasising the infectious potential of wild meat, or ‘bushmeat.’ Using qualitative methods, the authors examine the local reception […]

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Cell Phones as an Anticipatory Technology: Behind the Hype of Big Data for Ebola Detection and Containment

This paper analyzes ethnographic and cartographic evidence from Sierra Leone that show the limitations of big data relative to the containment of Ebola. In this paper, big data is both a technology itself and also a foundation and catalyst for other technologies. Early in 2014, big data’s technologies of data collection as well as its […]

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Structural Drivers of Vulnerability to Zoonotic Disease in Africa

This paper argues that addressing the underlying structural drivers of disease vulnerability is essential for a ‘One Health’ approach to tackling zoonotic diseases in Africa. Through three case studies-trypanosomiasis in Zimbabwe, Ebola and Lassa Fever in Sierra Leone and Rift Valley fever in Kenya-we show how political interests, commercial investments and conflict and securitization all […]

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“We Know Who is Eating the Ebola Money!”: Corruption, the State, and the Ebola Response

Sierra Leonean production of knowledge about Ebola was, in large part, production of knowledge about “who ate the Ebola money.” This article traces people’s responses to the Ebola crisis through a number of different moments, at each point reflecting on how their concerns about how Ebola money was being spent illuminate their expectations of their […]

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