This breakfast seminar discusses the responses of the international humanitarian community to the Ebola outbreak so far including Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal. So far, the unprecedented outbreak of the epidemic has led to thousands of deaths, and the numbers of casualties are expected to rise sharply over the coming weeks.

Among the most visible responses to stop Ebola has been to quarantine slums (Liberia); imposing a countrywide lockdown (Sierra Leone) closing international borders (Ivory Coast and Senegal) and the massive cancelling of flights to West Africa.

These responses have been criticized for being insufficient, stigmatizing and counterproductive, causing a further deterioration in the trust between people and health providers. At the same time, a high number of local health personnel have died due to lack of protective gear, and the collapse of health systems lead to further deaths. Moreover, there is a lack of staff on the ground to effectively monitor affected individuals and families.

What is causing the tension between affected communities and health workers? How is the international humanitarian community responding to this outbreak? What is the role and responsibility of the WHO in detecting and addressing this outbreak? What types of responses are needed to effectively stop the outbreak?


08.30 Introduction and welcome (Kristin Bergtora Sandvik, PRIO and Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies)

08.35 The view from the field (Lindis Hurum, Leger uten Grenser)

09.05 Humanitarian responses (Jørn Casper Øwre, Norwegian Refugee Council; Olav Aasland, Norwegian Red Cross, Gry Ballestad, Save the Children, and representative from MFA)

09.20 Discussion

09.45 Questions and Comments

09.55 Wrap up and final remarks

10.00 End of Seminar

The seminar is organized by the Humanitarianism Research Group at PRIO in collaboration with Leger uten Grenser, Norwegian Refugee Council, Norwegian Red Cross and the Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies.