What can community perspectives bring to Ebola virus disease preparedness in Uganda?
In June 2019, an Ebola epidemic was declared in Kasese District, southwestern Uganda. This was traced, in part, to the porous border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where an epidemic had been ongoing since August 2018. The epidemic was exacerbated by political instability in affected areas, leading to an influx of refugees to Uganda.
In this context, UNICEF Uganda and Makerere University carried out anthropological research to better understand Ebola preparedness response uptake, particularly in relation to cultural norms governing health-seeking, caregiving and preventive behaviours. The research aimed to further understand how these behaviours are influenced by livelihoods, religious and spiritual beliefs, funeral and burial practices, caregiving practices, and trust in the health system – as each factor plays out across specific social, political and economic contexts.