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New inquiry: Follow-up to responses to the Ebola crisis

13 July 2015

The Ebola epidemic in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone spread at a startling rate and to date has killed over 11,000 people (WHO, 2015).  With no precedent for dealing with an infectious disease of this virulence and spread, the development community struggled to bring the crisis under control, with cases spreading from the affected countries to Nigeria, Mali, Spain and the United States.

The Committee inquired into Sierra Leone in September 2014 at outbreak of Ebola and again into Responses to the Ebola crises in December 2014, with oral evidence taken from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Medicins Sans Frontières.

According to a senior source at the World Bank, a global epidemic is the biggest threat to the world in the next 30 years.  After the events in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the Committee wants to find out what lessons have been learnt:

Questions for the inquiry:

  • Timeline of response – what could have been done better and quicker? How can this be prevented from happening again? Does DFID have the capacity to deal with future outbreaks? Is there enough expertise in DFID?
  • How did Ebola get to the stage it did, what failed in the three months preceding DFID involvement? What can be done in future to assess and diagnose diseases more rapidly?
  • What impact did cultural practices have on the spread of Ebola?
  • What can be done to address such issues in the future?
  • What was the decision making structure between DFID and the MOD? Who was ultimately responsible? Was using the military more efficient than using NGOs? How successful were the setup of the hospitals, how many patients were treated?
  • Was all the funding spent? How was it spent? How was it monitored?
  • How will Sierra Leone recover and rebuild itself? Is there a plan for schools and children who have missed out on a year of education? How will orphaned children who have been left on the streets be reintegrate into communities? Does Sierra Leone need a form of Marshall Plan for reconstruction? What is DFID doing?
  • What is DFID and international community doing to improve the international response for future disease outbreaks? The Committee recommended an urgent review of the WHO, has that happened?
  • What is the UK doing on drugs, especially in relation to antimicrobial drug resistance?
  • FGM in Sierra Leone came to a halt during the Ebola crisis, how can the practice be prevented from coming back?

The Committee invites written submissions from interested organisations and individuals. The deadline for these is 17 September 2015. The Committee will consider requests for reasonable adjustments to its usual arrangements for taking evidence and publishing material, to enhance access. Please contact or telephone 020 7219 1223.

Please note

As part of a scheme to encourage paperless working and maximize efficiency, the Committee is now using an evidence portal for online submissions of written evidence. Written submissions for this inquiry should therefore be sent via our written evidence submission form.

Further information

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