Investments in learning during the Ebola outbreak shape COVID-19 responses in West Africa: evidence from Sierra Leone and Nigeria
Keywords:epidemics, Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE), Ebola, COVID-19, knowledge management, learning, After Action Review, leadership, public health, public health in emergencies
In emergency response investing in learning is often seen as a luxury that will take resources and focus away from the people most in need. However, in COVID-19, building on learning from the Ebola outbreak in 2014, and from previous experiences responding to Ebola, was critical to getting an effective response mobilized quickly. The time and investments in documenting lessons learned and in building learning and collaboration spaces allowed many countries in West Africa to quickly respond to COVID-19 in more effective ways. In particular, we were able to quickly apply lessons about communicating risk more effectively, about engaging with community leaders to reinforce healthy behaviors that would protect people, and about collaborating across partners to develop tools and resources that would support the government?s public health response. We are applying the lessons from Ebola about how to learn and document good practices to our COVID-19 response. This includes special attention to working with communities to document learning and understand what is and is not working.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Alfred Makavore, Emily Janoch
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