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The West Africa Disaster Preparedness Initiative: Strengthening National Capacities for All-Hazards Disaster Preparedness

  • Melinda J. Morton Hamer (a1) (a2) (a3), Paul L. Reed (a1), Jane D. Greulich (a1), Gabor D. Kelen (a2), Nicole A. Bradstreet (a1) and Charles W. Beadling (a1)...



The Ebola outbreak demonstrated the need for improved disaster response throughout West Africa. The West Africa Disaster Preparedness Initiative was a training and assessment effort led by US Africa Command and partners to strengthen capacities among 12 West African partner nations (PNs).


Series of 3-week training sessions with representatives from each PN were held from 13 July through 20 November 2015 at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra, Ghana. A team conducted Disaster Management Capabilities Assessments (DMCAs) for each PN, including a review of key data, a survey for leaders, and in-person interviews of key informants.


All 12 PNs generated a national Ebola Preparedness and Response Plan and Emergency Operations Center standard operating procedures. DMCA metrics were generated for each PN. Top performers included Ghana, with a plan rated good/excellent, and Benin and Burkina Faso, which both achieved a satisfactory rating for their plans. More than 800 people from 12 nations were trained.


PNs have improved disaster management capabilities and awareness of their strengths and weaknesses. The Economic Community of West African States has increased its lead role in this and future planned initiatives. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;11:431–438)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Melinda J. Morton Hamer, MD, MPH, Major, US Army, Department of Emergency Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1830 E. Monument St, Ste 6-100, Baltimore, MD 21205 (e-mail:


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The West Africa Disaster Preparedness Initiative: Strengthening National Capacities for All-Hazards Disaster Preparedness

  • Melinda J. Morton Hamer (a1) (a2) (a3), Paul L. Reed (a1), Jane D. Greulich (a1), Gabor D. Kelen (a2), Nicole A. Bradstreet (a1) and Charles W. Beadling (a1)...


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