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DR Congo: End of Ebola Outbreak – Lessons Learnt

Innovative medical technologies (vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics) are not enough to prevent and contain epidemics. What’s needed is the inclusion of social science as an important component of outbreak management. What I mean by this is that communities need to be engaged and empowered as primary partners in preparing and responding to an outbreak. But gaining their trust involves understanding their perception of control measures.

For example, why don’t local people trust national governments and the health system? Why don’t they accept health interventions, including vaccination? Why don’t they adopt preventive behaviours, including safe burials? Why do they perceive foreign medical interventions as bio-terrorist experiments at their expense? Social scientists are best able to understand these dynamics, which is why they should be involved.

Source: The Conversation

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