Vicky Hausman: why the private sector matters for the Ebola crisis

People walk past a billboard encouraging people suffering from symptoms linked to Ebola to present themselves at a health facility for treatment in Freetown, Sierra Leone. AP

For today’s Humanosphere podcast, we’re talking with Vicky Hausman, partner and leader of the Global Health pravicky-hausmanctice at the development consulting group Dalberg.

She speaks with Tom Murphy about some of the lessons learned from the Ebola crisis in West Africa. By working with groups involved in the Ebola response and doing independent research, Hausman and her team at Dalberg issues a series of recommendations for dealing with similar crises when they break out:

  • Let permanent solutions arise from emergency measures.
  • When it comes to economic recovery, don’t just think big.
  • The private sector has a big role to play.
  • The solution doesn’t have to be flown in from elsewhere.

It is the point on the private sector that caught Tom’s attention and forms the basis of the conversation. He admits that he assumed that meant big businesses from the West, but he was wrong. Small and medium sized businesses account for 80 percent of Liberia’s economic activity and are where 90% of the workforce is employed. In other words, businesses in Liberia are a big deal for the country and should be considered a part of the response to the Ebola outbreak and similar crises.

The conversation hits on what it would mean to engage in the private sector and more broadly the changes needed to ensure that disasters are met with the appropriate response.

As usual, things kick off with Tom and I discussing some of the top news items in the Humanosphere. Stories include Uganda’s decision to send medical workers to the Caribbean, some surprising results from research on Malaria in Zambia and an April 1 exclusive report broken by Tom Murphy on the heroic effort by Africa to help end inequality in America.

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About Author

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is a New Hampshire-based reporter for Humanosphere. Before joining Humanosphere, Tom founded and edited the aid blog A View From the Cave. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, GlobalPost and Christian Science Monitor. He tweets at @viewfromthecave. Contact him at tmurphy[at]humanosphere.org.