Past eventMembers

Ebola: The Epidemic of Fear?

Chatham House, London

Participants

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE, Director of Planning, National Ebola Response Centre (2015) (Via Skype)
Michiel Hofman, Senior Humanitarian Specialist, Médecins Sans Frontières; Co-editor and Contributor, The Politics of Fear: Médecins Sans Frontières and the West African Ebola Epidemic
Tim O’Dempsey, Senior Clinical Lecturer, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; Contributor, The Politics of Fear: Médecins Sans Frontières and the West African Ebola Epidemic
Chair: Professor David Heymann CBE, Head and Senior Fellow, Centre on Global Health Security, Chatham House

Overview

The unprecedented Ebola epidemic in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea in 2014-15 caught the world off-guard, eliciting a flurry of varied reactions from governments, UN and humanitarian agencies, and public health officials including flight bans, quarantines and bans on selling bush meat.

This event will seek to unpack how far these reactions were based on fear rather than on sound medical practice and how to ensure the latter leads the response for future epidemics. The panellists will reflect on their personal involvement in the response to the epidemic, the difficult decisions made in the midst of an impossible situation and how fear transformed this humanitarian crisis into a global security threat. The event will end by outlining lessons learned and how this has affected preparation for a similar outbreak in the future.

This event is in partnership with Médecins Sans Frontières/ Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and is based on some of the issues addressed in the new book The Politics of Fear: Médecins Sans Frontières and the West African Ebola Epidemic, published by Oxford University Press.