Social anthropologists are to assess if an Ebola epidemic that ended four years ago has prepared Sierra Leone for Covid-19.
Researchers from Edinburgh will investigate how medical technologies developed during the West African crisis of 2014-2016 can help healthcare professionals today.
Their findings could support emergency responses to Covid-19 and also help to strengthen the country’s health systems in the longer term.
The study involves researchers from the University’s School of Social and Political Science, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and public health institutions in Sierra Leone.
The team will analyse large datasets derived from two key research initiatives set up to tackle Ebola – an Edinburgh-led social science project on diagnostics and a vaccination initiative involving researchers from London.
Data includes interviews undertaken with healthcare professionals and observations made by researchers during the Ebola epidemic.
The project is supported by the Scottish Funding Council’s Global Challenges Research Fund. It will result in a jointly authored research paper and a briefing document for government officials.
Social scientists have a key role to play as the COVID-19 pandemic expands into Africa. The findings of this study will make a vital contribution to testing, diagnosis and research.