Implementing Evidence-Based Policy to Respond to Large-Scale International Crises: The Ebolo Outbreak in West Africa
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
The World Health Organization (WHO) offers guidance to policymakers developing evidence-based policies and recommends that they include the following steps; define the problem, conduct a systematic review of relevant research, evaluate the research sources, adapt the findings to the current situation, then implement the policy and periodically evaluate the outcomes. This series of steps underscores the importance of employing a carefully researched set of policies that is adaptive to the local context and responsive to the problem. Yet, in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, there were breakdowns at each stage of the response. In this complex action field, it is essential that information and technical assistance are able to flow throughout the network.
We employ a mixed-methods approach to assess the interorganizational response to EVD in West Africa to improve performance in future complex events. These methods include a content analysis of the reports posted on the United Nations Relief Web. That content was developed into a network analysis showing the interactions among the diverse set of actors operating at different levels of authority and responsibility in this dynamic action situation. Information communication technology (ICT) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) offer additional tools that were employed in the response to the Ebola outbreak. As the world becomes better connected through these technologies, urgent messages can be conveyed to vulnerable populations and policy makers at different levels of operation simultaneously. GIS offers accurate, timely visual representation
A Poisson regression of relevant data from UNICEF, UNMEER, and the Humanitarian Data Exchange showed that, at the chiefdom level, medical care coupled with an investment in local capacity building led to a decrease in confirmed cases. By employing a mixed-methods approach to evaluating the policy decisions made throughout the response, we offer a set of findings and recommendations for future responses in these dynamic policy environments.