Surveillance, Community Needs Assessment, Pedagogy
Risk, Response, and Recovery: A Community’s Battle with Ebola in Sierra Leone
( Undergraduate Student )
6th author: Last Name: Ko; First Name: Henry; Affiliation: UMD A. James Clark School of Engineering Bioengineering 7th author: Last Name: Lovell; First Name: David; Affiliation: UMD A. James Clark School of Engineering Civil and Environmental Engineering 8th author: Last Name: Williams; First Name: Madieu; Affiliation: Madieu Williams Foundation 2nd presenter: Name: Syed Taban; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (also a student) Abstract: The West Africa Ebola outbreak is a complex public health issue with various sociological, ecological, and environmental drivers. In June 2014, coinciding with the beginning of the outbreak in other parts of the country, faculty and students from Public Health Without Borders (PHWB) and Engineers Without Borders traveled to Calaba Town, Sierra Leone to implement health education and engineering projects with community partners. Four out of every five people in Sierra Leone lives in poverty, and over half of the population is deprived of drinking water. Calaba Town - located on the outskirts of the country’s capital - was built by the reconstruction efforts after the civil war which ended in 2011. The Madieu Williams Foundation (MWF) constructed a primary school in this village, and our project focused on children at this school and their families. As one of its aims, the PHWB team conducted over 100 interviews with parents, political and religious leaders, health care providers, teachers, and children in the community to learn about their health needs and behaviors. Though at the time of the study Ebola was restricted to the eastern region of Sierra Leone and the concern about the outbreak was low among World Health Organization monitoring reports, this situation changed quickly and Calaba Town has since experienced the devastating consequences of Ebola. Drawing from our research and sustained relationship with teachers, children, and other community members in Calaba Town, this presentation aims to share insights as to how this public health emergency unfolded for this village. Specifically, our case study sheds light on the potential determinants, transmission, impact, and management of Ebola in this community. Based on our fieldwork as well as our ongoing collaboration with the MWF, we will also present recommendations for how to continue to support a community recovering from this crisis.