USAID OFDA – Social Science in Epidemics: Cholera lessons learned

Social Science in Epidemics: Cholera lessons learned. Social Science in Humanitarian Action, December 2018.

This report is the first installment of the ‘Social Science in Epidemics’ series, commissioned by the USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Direct Assistance (OFDA). In this series, past outbreaks are reviewed in order to identify social science ‘entry points’ for emergency interventions and preparedness activities.

The aim is to determine tangible ways to address the social, political and economic dynamics of epidemics and to ensure that interventions build on the social and cultural resources of the communities they aim to support.

This report focuses on the lessons learned primarily from countries affected by cholera outbreaks in the past four decades, in what is called the 7th Cholera pandemic.

The most important case studies considered are the epidemics in Peru (1991), Haiti (2010), South Sudan (2016), India (endemic outbreaks), Mozambique (2014 and 2017) and Zimbabwe (2008 and ongoing outbreak), yet other countries’ experiences are incorporated.

Lessons are also integrated from literature around cultural responses to Oral Rehydration Therapy in the context of acute diarrheal disease.

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