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November 13, 2023

Reflecting on the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola Outbreak: Did We Learn the Lessons?

Event Series: Global Health Security Seminars

Community health workers in Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak

In this seminar, Dr. Oliver Johnson, managing director for the Georgetown University Global Health Institute, shared the findings from his book on the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone entitled Getting to Zero: A Doctor and a Diplomat on the Ebola Frontline (2018). The book was co-authored with Dr. Sinead Walsh, who was Ireland’s ambassador to Sierra Leone and Liberia during the outbreak. The book is based on their own firsthand experiences of the outbreak response, along with over 80 interviews and a review of more than 200 pieces of literature. The seminar was an opportunity to reflect on whether the lessons from that epidemic were learned, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the Georgetown academic community is continuing to address these issues today.

This event was open to all Georgetown University faculty, students, staff, and affiliates.

This event was co-sponsored by the Center for Global Health Science and Security, the School of Health’s Department of Health Management and Policy, and the Global Health Institute.


Oliver Johnson is managing director for the Georgetown University Global Health Institute, as well as a visiting lecturer in Global Health at King’s College London and an honorary researcher at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. He was based for the last 10 years in Sierra Leone and South Africa where his focus has been the implementation of health systems strengthening (HSS) programs, with particular emphasis on the health workforce, health professional leadership, and the political economy of HSS. He has a medical degree and Ph.D. from King's College London and a bachelor's degree in international health from University College London.