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Ebola and public authority: saving loved ones in Sierra Leone

Parker, Melissa, Hanson, Tommy Matthew, Vandi, Ahmed, Babawo, Lawrence Sao and Allen, Tim (2019) Ebola and public authority: saving loved ones in Sierra Leone. Medical Anthropology: Cross Cultural Studies in Health and Illness, 38 (5). pp. 440-454. ISSN 0145-9740

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Identification Number: 10.1080/01459740.2019.1609472


It is unclear how public authorities shaped responses to Ebola in Sierra Leone. Focusing on one village, we analyze what happened when “staff, stuff, space, and systems” were absent. Mutuality between neighbors, linked to secret societies, necessitated collective care for infected loved ones, irrespective of the risks. Practical learning was quick. Numbers recovering were reported to be higher among people treated in hidden locations, compared to those taken to Ebola Treatment Centres. Our findings challenge positive post-Ebola narratives about international aid and military deployment. A morally appropriate people’s science emerged under the radar of external scrutiny, including that of a paramount chief.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 The Authors
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2019 12:45
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:57

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