When infectious disease outbreaks occur, containment is a vital strategy for protecting the affected population and preventing the spread of fear and panic. Emergency Operations Centers can help return stability to impacted nations, as reflected in recent responses in Nigeria. According to research co-authored by University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business Management Professor Philip F. Musa, Ph.D., Emergency Operations Centers make a critical difference.
Emergency Operations Centers
Emergency Operations Centers are physical or virtual spaces where strategic management of public health emergencies is coordinated by emergency management personnel. They are important for low resource countries and areas with high population densities. Implementation through an Incident Management System helps control disasters through a clear structure of command hierarchy and proper direction of internal and external resources. Together, EOCs and IMSs ensure a cohesive and prompt community recovery strategy.
The Impact of Emergency Operations Centers
The Emergency Operations Centers structure that was developed for Polio eradication was scaled up to contain the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Nigeria. Here’s how these particular EOCs may have actually saved the world:
- With nearly 30,000 Ebola cases across Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and more than 11,000 deaths, Ebola was spreading quickly and devastatingly across the continent.
- Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa, with about 180 million people. The Ebola index case that came from Liberia flew into a densely populated city in Nigeria, Lagos, which is home to more than 20 million people.
- Because of Nigeria’s use of a Public Health Emergency Management system, what could have been a large-scale disaster was largely contained, with only 20 cases and 8 fatalities resulting from the introduction of Ebola into the country.
To learn more about the research and findings regarding the critical role Emergency Operations Centers play, as well as how to make them successful, view the infographic by UAB Collat School of Business below: