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The 2013-2016 Ebola epidemic: Evaluating communication strategies between two affected countries in West Africa

Adukwu, Emmanuel C.; Walker, Brodie F.


Brodie F. Walker


Background: Ebola is a haemorrhagic disease with high fatality rates between 25 and 90%. The 2013-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa was the largest to date with >28 000 cases and >11 000 fatalities. This outbreak exposed inadequacies in public health agencies and has spurred health officials to re-evaluate the way Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemics are co-ordinated and communicated. Methods: This project compares, using the systematic review method, differences in the communication of EVD in Nigeria and Liberia with data from selected articles analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: The most successful communication strategies were community engagement and targeted health-communication to the most at-risk groups. We also highlight the importance of a multi-modal strategy to effectively communicate prevention and management of EVD to affected communities. Secondary to these findings included the relevance of the media, particularly social media tools in managing such serious outbreak situations. Conclusion: This study provides the basis for the development of a theory-based framework to effectively communicate EVD and reduce the negative outcomes observed during the 2013-16 EVD outbreak.


Adukwu, E. C., Walker, B. F., Walker, B. F., & Adukwu, E. C. (2020). The 2013-2016 Ebola epidemic: Evaluating communication strategies between two affected countries in West Africa. European Journal of Public Health, 30(1), 118-124.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date May 13, 2019
Online Publication Date Jun 9, 2019
Publication Date Feb 1, 2020
Journal European Journal of Public Health
Print ISSN 1101-1262
Electronic ISSN 1464-360X
Publisher Oxford University Press (OUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 30
Issue 1
Article Number ckz104
Pages 118-124
Keywords ebola virus, africa, western, disease outbreaks, hemorrhagic disorders, ebola virus disease, liberia, nigeria, public health medicine, epidemics, community, social media, prevention, communication strategies, health communication
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