Title

The Role of Capacity Building in Emergency Humanitarian Response: An Ebola Case Study

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

The appalling death toll of the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa exposed a large number of emergency response inadequacies within the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Health Regulations (IHR) that govern the WHO and its member states. The weight of these inadequacies necessitated a review of the IHR. This currently ongoing process has identified many key areas of growth for the IHR and new strategies for the WHO; however, the current discussion does not encompass the very valuable idea of capacity building within emergency humanitarian response. Capacity building is commonly defined as strengthening a country’s human, scientific, technological, organizational, institutional, or resource ability to respond to a crisis. The current IHR review places a great emphasis on capacity building in advance of an emergency response event. This paper posits that including steps to promote capacity building while in the midst of a crisis, specifically those steps that connect domestic partners with foreign emergency response teams, would provide a strong addition to the capacity building measures already under discussion. It would also reinforce the permanency of quickly built emergency structures, like clinics, or organizations, like domestic medical teams, which are not always maintained after the crisis situation ends. By examining the 2014 Ebola outbreak and its repercussions through a combination of scholarly sources, appropriate news items, and minutes and proceedings from the IHR Review Proceedings, this paper supports the importance of capacity building as an integral part of emergency responses to humanitarian crises. Specific attention will be paid to the lifespan and usage of construction projects and organizational changes made during the Ebola outbreak. This paper also provides recommendations for the incorporation of this concept in proposed adaptions to the IHR as well as a set of more general recommendations for usage by other humanitarian emergency response actors.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 15th, 4:20 PM Apr 15th, 4:40 PM

The Role of Capacity Building in Emergency Humanitarian Response: An Ebola Case Study

The appalling death toll of the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa exposed a large number of emergency response inadequacies within the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Health Regulations (IHR) that govern the WHO and its member states. The weight of these inadequacies necessitated a review of the IHR. This currently ongoing process has identified many key areas of growth for the IHR and new strategies for the WHO; however, the current discussion does not encompass the very valuable idea of capacity building within emergency humanitarian response. Capacity building is commonly defined as strengthening a country’s human, scientific, technological, organizational, institutional, or resource ability to respond to a crisis. The current IHR review places a great emphasis on capacity building in advance of an emergency response event. This paper posits that including steps to promote capacity building while in the midst of a crisis, specifically those steps that connect domestic partners with foreign emergency response teams, would provide a strong addition to the capacity building measures already under discussion. It would also reinforce the permanency of quickly built emergency structures, like clinics, or organizations, like domestic medical teams, which are not always maintained after the crisis situation ends. By examining the 2014 Ebola outbreak and its repercussions through a combination of scholarly sources, appropriate news items, and minutes and proceedings from the IHR Review Proceedings, this paper supports the importance of capacity building as an integral part of emergency responses to humanitarian crises. Specific attention will be paid to the lifespan and usage of construction projects and organizational changes made during the Ebola outbreak. This paper also provides recommendations for the incorporation of this concept in proposed adaptions to the IHR as well as a set of more general recommendations for usage by other humanitarian emergency response actors.