Conference "lessons learned for public health from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa – how to improve preparedness and response in the EU for future outbreaks" - Conference summary report

from European Commission, Government of Luxembourg
Published on 05 Nov 2015 View Original

1. Background

The Ebola outbreak in 2014 and 2015 in West Africa and the repercussions it had at international level have substantially changed our perception and understanding of global health security. In this context, DG SANTE, together with the Luxembourg Presidency, organised a conference on "lessons learned for public health from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa – how to improve preparedness and response in the EU for future outbreaks”.

The event took place in Mondorf-les-Bains (Luxembourg) from Monday 12 October to Wednesday 14 October 2015.

The aim of this conference was to identify learning points arising from the Ebola epidemic which will be crucial to strengthen health security in the European Union, better prepare us for similar crises and put us in the position to respond rapidly, flexibly and effectively to emergencies and disease outbreaks in the future.

The outcomes of the conference will inform Council conclusions to be adopted by the Health Ministers in December 2015. The results will also be incorporated in the report on the lessons learned from Ebola that EU Ebola coordinator and Commissioner, Mr Christos Stylianides, will present to the European Council.

An award ceremony of the 2015 European Health Prize for NGOs followed the opening session. Subsequently four workshops - run in parallel sessions – analysed:

  1. the Ebola outbreak as a complex crisis: the EU response and inter-sectorial cooperation,

  2. best practices for treatment and prevention including protection of health care workers, medical evacuation, diagnostic methods and vaccines,

  3. communication activities and strategies addressed to the public and health professionals, and

  4. the Ebola epidemic from a local challenge to a global health security issue.

Over 350 participants attended, including health authorities and experts from EU Member States, EU bodies, international and non-governmental organisations and projects working in risk and crisis management and communication who have been involved in the response in West Africa as well as in preparedness and response in the EU.

The following report will provide the reader with the main messages of the key speakers as well the recommendations based on the discussions in the four parallel workshops.