Reports / Reports

What is a resilient health system? Lessons from Ebola [The Lancet]

The fragility of health systems has never been of greater interest—or importance—than at this moment, in the aftermath of the worst Ebola virus disease epidemic to date. The loss of life, massive social disruption, and collapse of even the most basic health-care services shows what happens when a crisis hits and health systems are not prepared. This did not happen only in west Africa—we saw it in Texas too: the struggle to provide a coherent response and manage public sentiment (which often manifests as fear) in a way that ensures that disease does not spread while also allowing day-to-day life to continue. In other words, we saw an absence of resilience.

“We saw an absence of resilience.”

This Viewpoint puts forth a proposed framework for resilient health systems and the characteristics that define them, informed by insights from other fields that have embraced resilience as a practice.