Reflections on Leadership and Governance from the Incident Manager of Liberia's Ebola Response

Tolbert Nyenswah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The 2014-2016 epidemic of Ebola virus disease occurred in a region with a recent history of civil war, unstable health systems, and widespread poverty. Despite these contextual challenges, the national Ebola response in Liberia controlled transmission under strong leadership that was able to rapidly coordinate activities, to manage local and international players, and to adapt upon recognizing missteps. Such leadership has persisted to improve public health capacity in post-Ebola Liberia. This article highlights the progress made toward developing a resilient health security system with capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to disease threats before they reach epidemic level. In particular, Liberia's development of a Global Health Security Agenda roadmap, a Joint External Evaluation (JEE) report for International Health Regulation (2005) core capacities, and recent establishment of a National Public Health Institute are described. To better protect the country's population and the greater global community from health threats, emerging institutions and policies in Liberia will depend on leadership and governance that draws from the successes and lessons learned during the Ebola outbreak. The author provides insight based on his role as incident manager of Liberia's Ebola response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-449
Number of pages5
JournalHealth Security
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Ebola virus disease
  • Emergency preparedness and response
  • Global Health Security Agenda
  • Health system strengthening
  • Public health emergency
  • West Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Safety Research
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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