Military played important role in Ebola crisis

Foreign military important part of response during Ebola crisis
Foreign military important part of response during Ebola crisis | Courtesy of
According to recent research, foreign military presence in West Africa during the Ebola crisis was crucial to the success of the response to the Ebola outbreak and future cooperation between the military and civilian organizations would further improve humanitarian crises that are related to health.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the University of Sydney, and the Queen Mary University of London conducted a study involving 70 people. They interviewed these people because they participated in the on-the-ground responses to Ebola outbreaks in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ghana.

There were over 5,000 foreign military personnel sent from Canada, China, France,  Germany, the U.K., and the U.S. to countries affected by Ebola. All of these people were important to the response during the crisis.

"Ebola showed us that the global health community is unable to deal with an outbreak of this scale, and that established humanitarian responders are unable to handle health events such as large disease outbreaks,” Clare Wenham, the co-author who conducted the research at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said. “The military were called for as a last resort when these traditional structures had failed.”

The 70 interviewees included national and international non-governmental organization (NGO) workers, local health workers, diplomats, government ministers, ambassadors, military personnel, and senior United Nations agency officials.

“That's not to say that military intervention should be a blueprint for the next large scale epidemic – we must be careful to consider the context,” Wenham said. “The politics and history of the location of any future outbreak should be carefully considered before deploying the military again.”

Organizations in this Story

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

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