Local Leaders Proven to Play a Role in Response to Africa Health Crises

The latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic and other continuing health crises in Africa further demonstrate the need for cooperative engagement from multiple agencies and individuals to take action. Local community leaders impact and shape responses to those crises.

A health worker in protective gear works at an Ebola treatment center in Beni, eastern Congo, Sept 9. (Al-hadji Kudra Maliro/AP/washingtonpost.com)

Recent research published in The Washington Post found that while WHO has most visible role in responding to health crises in Africa, local community leaders take on tasks such as educating communities at the beginning of an outbreak, mobilizing their community to take preventative measures and providing initial treatments and medicines. Community leaders are valuable during a response as they know the culture and customs of a community and serve as trusted intermediary for a larger organization’s response efforts. African leaders have also organized health responses themselves through the West African Health Organization before international assistance has arrived.

Learn more about the research here.