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Analysis of the response to the Ebola epidemic in Guinea and Sierra Leone

As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s Global Tools Review, Groupe URD visited Guinea and Sierra Leone, two countries affected by the Ebola crisis, from 25 October to 4 November, to analyse a concrete example of a crisis response. This is an example of a complex situation for which the humanitarian system is not very well prepared and where innovative solutions will need to be found. This challenging context has left the international community facing some major difficulties such as therapeutic issues in weak health systems, and socio-cultural, political and economic issues.

Faced with this challenge, the international community has had to deal with some major difficulties. Some of these have been therapeutic issues in health systems which perform very poorly (healthcare protocols, the safety of healthcare personnel, the absence of treatments and the slowness with which vaccinations are being developed); others have been socio-cultural issues (fear, how deaths and burials are managed, etc.); while others have been more political (e.g. quarantine and border closures) or economic (how can economies and trade function when there is fear of contact and contamination?).