Exeter expert advises on Ebola
Published on: 6 November 2014
A scientist examining the ebola virus. Courtesy of Shutterstock.
A University of Exeter academic is playing a pivotal role in advising government and NGO responses to the Ebola outbreak.
Dr Ann Kelly, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, is one of four experts invited to participate in an 'Understanding Ebola' round table lecture taking place tonight (6 November) at The University of Manchester.
The round table features speakers working at the forefront of the current Ebola Response in West Africa. It brings together anthropologists, medical doctors and humanitarian workers to critically reflect on progress to date and what more can be done. The lecture has been organised by the Brooks World Poverty Institute (BWPI), Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) and the Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM) as part of its annual Tri-Institute Lecture series.
Dr Kelly is a member of the Department for International Development (DfID) Anthropology and Social Science Sub-Group for the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) established last month to address the Ebola outbreak. This group of six invited experts meet weekly with the UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor and Director of Research and Evidence to provide expert advice on issues identified as critical for the UK Government response to the control of the Ebola outbreak. This includes:
- safe burials;
- strengthening community engagement and effective two-way communication;
- the cultural, social and religious practices that will influence community engagement with interventions;
- promoting behavioural change that help can reduce transmission.
Dr Kelly has over a decade of experience working in medical research contexts across the West and East African region. She has provided insight and advised on enhancing the acceptability of research practices in the context of infectious disease including malaria and Lassa fever (viral haemorrhagic fever related to Ebola).
She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for a French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) coordinated therapeutic clinical trial aimed at reducing mortality in adults from Ebola in Guinea and most recently was invited to contribute to a major EU-funded initiative investigating the efficacy, safety and feasibility of convalescent whole blood (CWB) and convalescent plasma (CP) therapy, as a treatment for Ebola patients, designing fieldwork protocols for clinical and health services staff approaching survivors.