Kodish SR, Bio F, Oemcke R, Conteh J, Beauliere JM, Pyne-Bailey S, Rohner F, Ngnie-Teta I, Jalloh MB, Wirth JP
September 2019 – PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
This study sought understand how the 2014–2016 EVD Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak impacted the nutrition sector in Sierra Leone and use findings for improving nutrition responses during future outbreaks of this magnitude. This qualitative study was iterative and emergent. In-depth interviews (n = 42) were conducted over two phases by purposively sampling both key informants (n = 21; government stakeholders, management staff from United Nations (UN) agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGO)), as well as community informants (n = 21; EVD survivors, health workers, community leaders) until data saturation. The EVD outbreak effects and the related response strategies, especially movement restriction policies including 21-day quarantines, contributed to disruptions across the food value chain in Sierra Leone. System-wide impacts were similar to those typically seen in large-scale disasters such as earthquakes. During the humanitarian response,nutrition-specific interventions, including food assistance, were highly accepted, although sharing was reported. Despite EVD impacts across the entire food value-chain, nutrition sensitive interventions were not central to the initial response as EVD containment and survival took priority. In Sierra Leone, the entire food value-chain was broken to the extent that the system-wide damage was on par with that typically resulting from large natural disasters.