Harvard researchers explore correlation between trust in leaders and combating Ebola

Friday, April 5, 2019 - 14:30 in Health & Medicine

In the lawless eastern provinces of sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest country, an Ebola outbreak that has quietly become history’s second-largest epidemic may wind up turning not on drugs or quarantine, but on a third, often underappreciated factor: trust. Though it’s known that gaining the confidence and cooperation of local people is a key to successful epidemic response, the long, terrible history of violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has elevated it from one element among many to a matter of paramount importance, according to survey work led by Harvard researchers Patrick Vinck and Phuong Pham. The pair, both assistant professors at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School and researchers at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), have worked with Harvard Medical School’s Eric Nilles, an infectious disease expert and director of the initiative’s Program on Infectious Diseases and Humanitarian Emergencies, and partners at three local...

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