A Simple Approach to Assessing Potential Health Emergency Interventions

A Proof of Concept and Illustrative Application to the 2014–2015 Ebola Crisis

by Margaret Chamberlin, Shira Efron, Melinda Moore

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During the response to the Ebola outbreak that surged in 2014 and continues into 2015, several new and largely untested interventions were suggested by various political and other authorities in both West Africa and the United States. When such public health emergencies arise, policymakers must assess and compare proposed interventions to determine the best way forward. Using Ebola as an illustrative example, RAND has developed a simple, practical, proof-of-concept policy analysis tool that aims to fill gaps in a decisionmaker's ability to systematically assess proposed interventions in a public health emergency, whether for planning and preparedness purposes or for decisionmaking during an ongoing response. The tool developed by RAND and described in this report is flexible enough to allow evaluation of a single intervention, multiple interventions with the same aim, and the entire landscape of interventions, as well as to be used to make decisions quickly when needed, or on the basis of more in-depth analysis and consultation when time permits.

This work was supported by RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation perspective series. RAND perspectives present informed perspective on a timely topic that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND perspectives undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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