Organise Response to Disease Epidemics Maintaining Routine Health Care
Health crises such as the Ebola epidemic in West Africa (2014-2016) require a rapid mobilisation of resources to manage the outbreak. As existing resources and measures are concentrated and re-allocated to cope with the outbreak, routine health care can be severely compromised. In addition, fear of infection among the population and health workers can reduce uptake and provision of health services. The consequences include, for example, undersupply in the treatment of other diseases, antenatal care and skilled birth attendance as well as vaccination gaps. In addition to the serious effects of the epidemic itself, this can lead to additional morbidity and mortality. These breakdowns of routine health services can continue to have an effect long after the outbreak. The experience in West Africa shows that epidemics of high-consequence infectious diseases have the potential to cause the collapse of an entire health system.
The aim of ORDER-HC is to strengthen the resilience of health systems in West Africa in order to maintain routine health care in future health crises.
To generate evidence for the development of recommendations and strategies for maintaining health care during outbreaks of high-consequence infectious diseases, the following studies will be conducted together with local partners:
- Literature review on secondary effects of the Ebola fever epidemic on public health and health systems in the affected countries
- Study on the use of routine health services in the post-epidemic phase, compared to the use before and during the epidemic
- Comparative study on strategies to maintain routine health care during the Ebola epidemic
The research results will be used to develop concepts, strategies and recommendations for maintaining routine health care during outbreaks of high-consequence infectious diseases. This supports the development of resilient health systems. Since research (planning, implementation, data analysis, publication) and development of recommendations and strategies (design, peer review, revision, implementation, evaluation) are carried out together with and as far as possible by local partners, capacity building is guaranteed. This is supported by workshops on research methods for local partners. Other capacity building activities include strengthening regional expert networks ("region-for-region" approach) and using the project results for the further development of existing curricula for health professions in the region and existing training within the framework of various German global health activities.