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Ebola outbreak in West Africa: considerations for strengthening Australia’s international health emergency response

Martyn D Kirk, Stephanie Davis and Kerri Viney
Med J Aust 2016; 205 (5): 236-237. || doi: 10.5694/mja16.00591
Published online: 5 September 2016

Rosewell and colleagues1 recently discussed the Australian response to the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa and commented that, as of January 2015, only one Master of Applied Epidemiology (MAE) scholar was deployed. Owing to the number of deploying agencies and the lack of a register of people providing assistance, it is difficult to identify people assisting with international public health emergencies. Since the publication of the article by Rosewell and colleagues, we attempted to identify all MAE alumni assisting with the Ebola response in West Africa. Two additional MAE scholars and a staff member were deployed to West Africa with the World Health Organization Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network in 2015. A total of 17 alumni and three MAE scholars were deployed, which was less than the estimated 15% in the article. In addition, most of the 22 MAE scholars around Australia during 2015 assisted health departments with the preparation for potential cases of Ebola virus disease and with the follow-up of returned travellers and workers from affected countries.

  • Martyn D Kirk
  • Stephanie Davis
  • Kerri Viney

  • National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT

Correspondence: martyn.kirk@anu.edu.au

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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