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How research into Ebola secured a seat at the table of COVID-19 policy-making

May 6, 2021
In my third post on the impact of researchers at the LSE Centre for Public Authority and International Development, I talk to CPAID’s Melissa Parker about her ground-breaking work on Sierra Leone’s Ebola outbreak and how it helped her bring the ‘public authority’ lens into policy-making. When you send in the anthropologists, be ready for surprises – totally new players,

Religion and COVID-19: Four Lessons from the Ebola experience

April 8, 2020
Guest post from Katherine Marshall, Olivia Wilkinson and Dave Robinson Ebola and COVID-19, two devastating infectious diseases that spread rapidly through populations, crossing boundaries of all sorts, put local, national, and international health systems to crucial tests. They also try religious communities, locally and globally. We are learning vital lessons from both experiences. First, religion and science must combine their

The Year in Africa

January 7, 2020
If you don’t receive ‘This Week in Africa’, check it out – it’s an amazing and wide-ranging round up of links put together by Jeff (American) and Phil (Zimbabwean) and hosted by the University of San Francisco. And their annual version is even better. Their 2019 summary is way too long for a blog, so I’ve cut it down by

Book Review:  Getting to Zero – A Doctor and a Diplomat on the Ebola Frontline

March 12, 2019
Guest post by Melissa Parker and Johanna Hanefeld  This excellent book provides a fascinating account of the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. It is co-authored by Sinead Walsh, who was Irish Ambassador to Sierra Leone at the time of the outbreak and, Oliver Johnson, a medical doctor, who was based at Connaught Hospital in the capital city, Freetown, and head

An experiment in participatory blogging on Ebola in Sierra Leone

April 4, 2018
Anthropologists do things differently, including blogging. My attention was piqued by Tim Allen’s reply to a commenter on his recent post (with Melissa Parker) on Ebola in Sierra Leone, in which he casually mentioned ‘It is perhaps worth adding that the chief and elders wanted us to write it, and we read it out at a meeting of the whole

Ebola Secrets: what happened when an epidemic hit a village in Sierra Leone? 

February 22, 2018
Melissa Parker, Professor of Medical Anthropology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Tim Allen, Professor of Development Anthropology at LSE and Director of the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa find long-standing customary forms of governance played a critical role in ending the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. This blog first appeared on the LSE’s Africa blog. ‘I acted to save the lives

Ebola: How a People’s Science Helped End an Epidemic

October 11, 2016
Guest book review from Anita Makri, an editor and writer going freelance after 5+ years with SciDev.Net. (@anita_makri) I’m sure that to readers of this blog the Ebola epidemic that devastated West Africa a couple of years ago needs no introduction (just in case, here’s a nice summary by the Guardian’s health editor). So I’ll cut to the chase, and

A week in the life of a humanitarian agency (it really is all kicking off everywhere)

August 1, 2014
To give people a better feel for our humanitarian work in Gaza, Syria and elsewhere, I thought I’d share the contents (unedited, but with a few explanatory links added + pics) of the weekly internal email that drops into Oxfam staff’s inboxes. It summarizes in pithy form what our humanitarian colleagues are up to – I think it captures the unique blend