Ebola outbreak in West Africa: considerations for strengthening Australia’s international health emergency response

Alexander Rosewell, Paul Effler, Chaturangi Yapa, Barbara Telfer, Jennie Musto and Raina MacIntyre
Med J Aust 2016; 204 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja16.00018
Published online: 18 April 2016

It is time for a common vision and strategy for deploying Australian expertise to international public health emergencies

An effective response to health emergencies such as the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa relies on global capacity to rapidly surge the supply of skilled workers, particularly when they are limited in affected countries and increasingly depleted during the emergency. Before the Ebola outbreak, health professionals in West Africa were already scarce; for example, in Liberia the doctor-to-population ratio was 1:70 000, compared with 1:300 in Australia.1,2 In addition to clinicians, an effective response to a large outbreak of Ebola virus disease in resource-limited settings requires international technical support across a range of public health and other disciplines, including infection prevention and control, epidemiology, laboratory diagnostics, communication, mental health, anthropology, social mobilisation, logistics, security and coordination.

  • Alexander Rosewell1
  • Paul Effler2
  • Chaturangi Yapa3
  • Barbara Telfer3
  • Jennie Musto4
  • Raina MacIntyre5

  • 1 Health Protection NSW, NSW Health, Sydney, NSW
  • 2 School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA
  • 3 Médecins Sans Frontières Australia, Sydney, NSW
  • 4 Sydney, NSW
  • 5 School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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