Community-based Crisis Response: Evidence from Sierra Leone's Ebola Outbreak


The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa was the largest ever recorded. Post-mortems on the crisis suggest that effective community engagement helped slow transmission by encouraging people to come forward and be tested. We evaluate the impact of Community Care Centers — a new crisis response model designed to allay fears about western medical care and, thus, encourage early reporting, isolation, and treatment. We employ new panel data on reported Ebola cases and a difference-in-differences design, and find that Community Care Centers dramatically increased reporting, potentially reducing the spread of Ebola. Our results show how community-based efforts to increase confidence in the health system can be critical for crisis management.

AEA Papers and Proceedings
Darin Christensen
Darin Christensen
Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Political Science

Political scientist interested in conflict and development.