Review of role of training in the WHO Ebola Emergency Response


The review aimed at determining the role of training in the Ebola emergency response with particular focus on pre-deployment and pre-service training offered by WHO and its Partners to both national and international responders to the Ebola Epidemic between August 2014 and September 2015, as well as formulating recommendations for potential future health related emergency responses.

The aims were to:

  • determine the scope of the training organized by the WHO and its partners during the Ebola emergency response (input aspects);
  • describe how the training was organized, coordinated, and how quality was controlled (inputs aspects);
  • determine the output of the training in terms of trainers and trainees trained, materials developed, alliances built;
  • identify the challenges and good practices related to the implementation of the training courses (analysis);
  • develop recommendations for the further improvement of the training component, including dissemination of lessons learnt among WHO partners and for advocacy and communication materials that project the relevance of training in an emergency response.


From August 2014 until September 2015, 2,714 persons took one or another form of the WHO pre-deployment training, and a total of 3,833 health professionals participated in the first two phases of the clinical management training in the three countries most affected by Ebola ( Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone). Health Focus GmbH was responsible for carrying out a review of pre-deployment and function-specific trainings offered by WHO and its partners during the Ebola epidemic 2014/15.

The review entailed a desk review, an online survey, and semi-structured interviews with key-informants. Purpose of the desk review was to obtain a comprehensive overview on the situation in West Africa and its development as well as the related training measures. The online survey sought to reach out to as many as possible participants of the training organized by WHO and its partners and collect information on relevant aspects of training in four major dimensions, namely: (1) knowledge gains, (2) relevance and transferability, (3) effectiveness, and (4) efficiency. By the means of 23 key-informant interviews, the answers to the online survey were triangulated. Furthermore, the interviews of key-informants allowed the collection of information on how the training was implemented, resisted, and adapted at different levels.

Ultimately, the study aimed at providing recommendations for improvement based on the quality of training materials, and statements of trainers, trainers of trainers, training coordinators, and trainees. A clinical management expert assessed the scientific quality of training materials.

Trainings assessed:


PROTECT, eProtect, GO training, and -handbook


  • Clinical management
  • Social mobilization/community engagement
  • Case tracking and epidemiology
  • Safe and dignified burial
  • Infection prevention and control
  • Selection, mobilisation and supervision of international experts (Training Expert, Scientific Advisor on Ebola, Data Analyst); provision of in-house experts (Survey Expert, Research Assistant);
  • Administration, monitoring, supervision and technical backstopping of the study; quality assurance of deliverables;
  • Development of review design and data collection instruments for qualitative and quantitative data collection (questionnaire for the online survey, semi-structured interviews);
  • Desk review of a wide range of Ebola related documents on the WHO websites and shared working spaces established for the trainers focusing specifically on training and training materials, and additional other literature;
  • Data processing and analysis (triangulation);
  • Development of a desk review report and final report, including formulation of recommendations
  • Regular exchange on the progress of the review with the client, the Ebola Emergency Response Training team at WHO headquarters.