What can the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone teach us about how to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic? Plenty, according to Prof. Oeindrila Dube of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. Dube and her co-authors examined social sentiments toward government-run health care operations in Sierra Leone, and subsequent effects on the public’s use of health care services.
Importantly, Dube finds that low levels of trust in government-run clinics can result in widespread communal contagion. Patients who expect substandard care in those clinics may prefer to go untested an untreated, which can have devastating effects in a pandemic. Simple interventions that encouraged people to seek testing and treatment increased reporting of Ebola cases by 60 percent, helping local health officials manage the spread of the disease. Dube will discuss this important new research and the lessons it holds for countries struggling to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Friedman Forum series offers students an opportunity for informal discussions with prominent economists.
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