Ebola response: Governance issues in the spotlight

Apr 8, 2016

Key stakeholders met to share good practices and lessons learnt in the Ebola response. Photo: UNDP

Addis Ababa, April 2016 - Governance issues exposed during the Ebola response came under the spotlight at a high-level discussion at the African Union Commission (AUC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia today.

Hosted by the AUC’s Department of Social Affairs, the Roundtable on Governance Issues in the Multi-Stakeholder Responses to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa brought together key national, regional and continental stakeholders to share good practices and lessons learnt in the Ebola response, to inform appropriate government structures needed for sustainable and resilient health systems.

“There is no doubt that governance issues had a significant impact on the fight against EVD,” said AU Commissioner of Social Affairs Dr Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko. “For example, why did the health workers in the affected countries initially have difficulties in mobilizing an immediate and adequate response to the EVD?”

Commissioner Kaloko noted other governance-related issues observed during the epidemic, including, in some instances, accountability of the state, effective consultation, erosion of trust and social contract between state and society; participation and engagement of citizens in state public affairs; access to and effective delivery of public services, amongst other challenges.

The roundtable was convened in partnership with the Institute for Peace and Security Studies, Addis Ababa University; the African Peace Building Network Program of the Social Science Research Council; the Oxfam International Liaison Office with the AU; and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Commissioner Kaloko also highlighted the extraordinary efforts of member states and the African private sector in their support to the African Union’s efforts toward fighting Ebola.

 “The continental response to the Ebola epidemic included high-level advocacy, mobilization of financial resources and the deployment of health workers and other personnel to the affected countries by member states and the private sector. The African Union support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA) mission deployed 855 volunteers between September 2014 and February 2015,” Dr Kaloko said.

The roundtable participants engaged in frank exchanges on the lessons learned; what accounted for the varied responses to Ebola by various stakeholders; the remedial or containment measures that should be in place as well as their availability; and what lessons can be learnt from the Ebola response about existing early warning systems and early actions.

Participants also discussed the appropriate government structure and systems required to establish sustainable and resilient health systems to shocks, and that would ensure that the current arrangements do not collapse in times of national emergencies.

Having recently declared that all known chains of transmission have been stopped in West Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that more flare-ups were expected and that sustained monitoring and response systems would be critical. The most recent case of Ebola was reported on 1 April in Liberia.

 

Contact information

In Addis Ababa: Sandra Macharia, Communications, Advisor, sandra.macharia@undp.org

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