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Ebola: Limitations of correcting misinformation

Members of the Ebola Response Anthropology Platform call on all organisations involved in the response to the Ebola outbreak to question the assumption that biomedicine must correct local logics and concerns, and the effectiveness of using standardised advice for non-standardised situations. Those tasked with asking people to change practices and activities associated with Ebola transmission should be allowed the time and flexibility to negotiate mutually agreed changes that are locally practical, socially acceptable, as well as epidemiologically appropriate. Resulting approaches to managing the crisis are likely to be diverse but locally sustainable, provided they are developed with respect for local people and their priorities and resourced appropriately. Otherwise, we warn that a focus on correcting “misinformation” could do more harm than good.

Geography: West Africa
Reference: Clare Chandler, James Fairhead, Ann Kelly, Melissa Leach, Frederick Martineau, Esther Mokuwa, Melissa Parker, Paul Richards, Annie Wilkinson, for the Ebola Response Anthropology Platform. 2015. Ebola: limitations of correcting misinformation. The Lancet.