Paper $29.95 ISBN: 9781786991683 Published October 2017 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9781786991690 Published December 2017 For sale in North and South America only

Understanding West Africa’s Ebola Epidemic

Towards a Political Economy

Edited by Ibrahim Abdullah and Ismail Rashid

Understanding West Africa’s Ebola Epidemic

Edited by Ibrahim Abdullah and Ismail Rashid

Distributed for Zed Books

288 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper $29.95 ISBN: 9781786991683 Published October 2017 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9781786991690 Published December 2017 For sale in North and South America only
From 2013 to 2015, over eleven thousand people across West Africa lost their lives to the deadliest outbreak of the Ebola virus in history. Crucially, this epidemic marked the first time the virus was able to spread beyond rural areas to major cities, infecting tens of thousands and overturning conventional assumptions about its epidemiology. With backgrounds ranging from development to disease control, the contributors to this volume, many of whom are based in countries affected by the Ebola epidemic, consider the underlying factors that shaped this unprecedented outbreak.
 
While championing the heroic efforts of local communities and international aid workers in halting the spread of the disease, the contributors also point to deep structural problems in both the countries affected and the humanitarian agencies involved that exacerbated the epidemic and hampered the effort to contain it. Alarmingly, they show that little has been learned from these events, with health provision in these countries remaining chronically underfunded and poorly equipped to deal with future outbreaks. Such issues, they argue, reflect the wider challenges we face in tackling epidemic disease in an increasingly interconnected world.
 
Contents
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Maps
 
Introduction: understanding West Africa’s Ebola epidemic
 
Part One The Regional History and Origins of Ebola
1 Ebola and regional history: connections and common experiences
Allen M. Howard
 
2 Eurocentric epistemology: questioning the narrative on the epidemic’s origin
Chernoh Alpha M. Bah
 
Part Two The Neoliberal Affliction: Different Countries, Similar Convulsions
3 Interpreting the health, social, and political dimensions of the Ebola crisis in Guinea
Alpha Amadou Bano Barry
 
4 The political economy of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia
George Klay Kieh, Jr.
 
5 Confronting Ebola with bare hands: Sierra Leone’s health sector on the eve of the Ebola epidemic
Ibrahim Abdullah and Abou Bakarr Kamara
 
Part Three Development, Gender, and its Discontents
6 Structural violence, public health, and the militarization of assistance
Julia Amos
 
7 “I am a woman. How can I not help?” gender performance and the spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone
Aisha Fofana Ibrahim
 
8 “God bless Whatsapp”: neoliberal Ebola and the struggle for autonomous space in Sierra Leone
Ibrahim Abdullah
 
Part Four Transnational Actors and the Politics of Crisis Response
9 African Union, ECOWAS, and the international political economy of the emergency response to Ebola
Semiha Abdulmelik
 
10 The World Health Organization and the Ebola epidemic
Meredeth Turshen and Tefera Gezmu
 
11 The Ebola epidemic moment in US-(West) Africa relations
Fodei Batty
 
12 UNMEER and the international response to the Ebola epidemic
Ismail Rashid
 
About the editors and contributors
Index
 
Review Quotes
Jacques Depelchin, Executive Director, Ota Benga International Alliance for Peace
“Rarely has a book recounted such a preventable catastrophe, and from so many perspectives. In the process, it breaks down the boundaries of current thinking, and speaks truth to power.”
Adia Benton, Northwestern University
“This comprehensive volume offers valuable analyses of the structural roots and social impacts of the West African Ebola outbreak. An excellent resource for anyone interested in learning about the history and political economy of this devastating epidemic.”
Robtel Neajai Pailey, author and activist
“This book successfully turns the neoliberal project on its head, forcing us to demand a different kind of development in contexts (such as Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) where exclusion, exploitation, and extraction reign supreme.”
Yusuf Bangura, Senior Research Associate, UNRISD
“A bold, critical, and wide-ranging anthology on the Ebola crisis. It will excite everyone interested in understanding why the Ebola viral disease overwhelmed the Mano River Union states.”
Paul Farmer, Harvard Medical School
“This eye-opening volume restores the social history of an epidemic that can't be understood without first acknowledging the economic policies that have impoverished this region. This book should (and I hope will) be read by anyone interested in global health. And that should include all of us.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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