Editor's note

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has spent a year fighting a deadly outbreak of the highly contagious Ebola Virus Disease. The World Health Organisation recently declared the epidemic a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern”. C Raina MacIntyre and Obijiofor Aginam explore the reasons for this and what help it may bring. Elsewhere, Abdhalah Ziraba examines the implications of any disease outbreak for a country’s economy and social fabric. 

Ina Skosana

Health + Medicine Editor

Top Stories


Why the DRC Ebola outbreak was declared a global emergency and why it matters

C Raina MacIntyre, UNSW; Obijiofor Aginam, United Nations University

Timing is everything when it comes to making a decision about declaring a disease outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

A health worker checks people’s temperatures in Goma, DRC. Patricia Martinez/EPA-EFE

How outbreaks like Ebola extract huge social and economic costs

Abdhalah Ziraba, African Population and Health Research Center

Epidemics can have massive social ramifications where prohibitions are imposed on travel, socio-cultural events and schooling.

Politics + Society

Repression and dialogue in Zimbabwe: twin strategies that aren’t working

Brian Raftopoulos, University of the Free State

The Mnangagwa regime's coercive acts are a continuation of the violence and brutality of the Mugabe era, while he seeks global re-engagement and selective national dialogue.

The AU’s role in brokering Sudan deal offers lessons for the future

Femi Amao, University of Sussex

The African Union's role in Sudan's political crisis proves that it's legal framework is strong enough to resolve regional disputes

‘We die together’: Hong Kong protests are being driven by a fearless young generation

Malte Phillipp Kaeding, University of Surrey

Who are Hong Kong's protesters?

Citizens of nowhere: one million Rohingya still without rights, status or justice

Abdullah Yusuf, University of Dundee

The current repatriation deal signed by Myanmar and Bangladesh fails to guarantee the safety and citizenship of the Rohingya people or address issues of justice for crimes perpetrated against them.

Environment + Energy

Designing new ways to make use of ocean plastic

Ian Lambert, Edinburgh Napier University

Plastic washed ashore from the ocean is hard to recycle. What else can we do with it?

How conserving nature’s ‘umbrella’ species could benefit whole habitats

Robert Hawkes, University of East Anglia

Conservationists have found a shortcut in the race to save Earth's threatened species.