Socio-cultural and Economic Concerns on Use of Convalescent Blood or Plasma for the Management of Ebola Virus Disease in Africa
The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which started on December 2013, but commonly known as the 2014 Ebola outbreak led to an urgent need for effective and affordable treatment options for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). While there are a number of experimental drugs for the treatment of EVD, there is also a parallel interest in the use of human convalescent blood or plasma for the treatment of EVD as well as a post-exposure prophylaxis. The use of human convalescent plasma as a form of therapy in an epidemic situation has its challenges and raises a number of socio-cultural issues that need to be taken into consideration when planning interventions. In this chapter, we discuss these socio-cultural concerns and challenges. We also suggest that the successful use of convalescent plasma for therapy or as a post exposure prophylaxis, would require: active community engagement; effective public education; collaborations that are equitable; and building trust between the general public and other stakeholders (researchers, funders, civil societies, healthcare workers and humanitarian organizations) involved in trials on human convalescent therapy.
We thank Alice Mungwa for inputs in the initial draft of the manuscript.
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