Consensus building around nutrition lessons from the 2014-16 Ebola virus disease outbreak in Guinea and Sierra Leone

Stephen R. Kodish, Aline Simen-Kapeu, Jean Max Beauliere, Ismael Ngnie-Teta, Mohammed B. Jalloh, Solade Pyne-Bailey, Helen Schwartz, James P. Wirth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


There are important lessons learned from the 2014-16 Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa. However, there has not been a systematic documentation of nutrition lessons specifically. Therefore, this study sought to generate multiple stakeholder perspectives for understanding the nutrition challenges faced during the Ebola virus disease outbreak, as well as for consensus building around improved response strategies. Participatory workshops with 17 and 19 participants in Guinea and Sierra Leone, respectively, were conducted in February 2017. Workshops followed the Nominal Group Technique, which is a methodological approach for idea generation and consensus building among diverse participants. Those findings were triangulated with qualitative interview data from participants representing government, United Nations bodies, civil society, nongovernmental organizations and local communities in both Guinea (n ¼ 27) and Sierra Leone (n ¼ 42). (1) Reduced health system access and utilization, Poor caretaking and infant and young child feeding practices, Implementation challenges during nutrition response, Household food insecurity and Changing breastfeeding practices were five nutrition challenges identified in both Guinea and Sierra Leone. (2) Between settings, 14 distinct and 11 shared organizational factors emerged as facilitators to this response. In Sierra Leone, participants identified the Use of Standard Operating Procedures and Psychosocial counselling, whereas in Guinea, Hygiene assistance was distinctly important. Political will, Increased funding, Food assistance and to a lesser extent, Enhanced coordination, were deemed 'most important' response factors. (3) The top nutrition lessons learned were diverse, reflecting those of nutrition policy, programme implementation, community activity and household behaviours. Disease outbreaks pose widespread nutrition challenges to populations in resource-constrained settings where global health security is not a guarantee. These findings should be considered for emergency nutrition preparedness and inform evidence-based priority setting in the post-Ebola virus context of Guinea and Sierra Leone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberczy108
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalHealth policy and planning
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy


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