You have now come to the end of the course. What have you learnt?
We looked at how the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has developed in an unprecedented way due the context in which it is taking place. A combination of the legacy of wars, distrust in government, weak health systems, traditional beliefs and burial practices, and a slow national and international response has turned what should have been a localised outbreak into a humanitarian crisis.
We considered Ebola the disease and Ebola the virus, and looked at how it is transmitted and how it should be contained, based on the standard principles of infectious disease transmission and control. We identified the usual methods for controlling Ebola: patient isolation, contact tracing, and ensuring community engagement, and where they have and haven’t worked in this crisis.
We discussed current treatment and its limitations, the potential for new treatments and vaccines, and the debate about how trials should be conducted. Finally, we looked towards the future and what should happen next to ensure that a crisis like this doesn’t occur again.
Throughout we have considered the context and what it is like to experience the epidemic, as a patient, a health care worker, and as a resident in the affected communities, and how context interacts with science in developing the appropriate responses to the epidemic.
Congratulations on having completed the course, and we hope you found it engaging. Please let us know what you thought of it by completing the post-course survey.
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine offers many further study options related to what you have learnt and discussed over the duration of this course. Details of MSc, research degree, and short course programmes delivered both face-to-face and via distance learning can be found on the School’s website.
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