In the complex environment of an epidemic, capacity to identify humanitarian needs is essential to inform and guide operations. Such capacity was challenged in the three countries most affected by the Ebola crisis, due mainly to problems of access and fear of the disease.
This report gathers lessons identified from assessments of the humanitarian situation in West Africa during the later stages of the Ebola crisis, between November 2014 and April 2015. It is based on conversations with individuals from different organisations who conducted assessments, as well as on ACAPS experiences of assessments conducted in Sierra Leone and Liberia during the Ebola Needs Analysis Project (ENAP).
The document provides a starting-point for organisations planning an assessment in this Ebola outbreak or in similar future situations. More general lessons, which have been covered in other publications, are repeated here because experience has indicated they need reinforcing. When considering these lessons, it is important to keep in mind that Liberia and Sierra Leone are developing countries whose public health systems were already weak pre-crisis.