Vertical interventions and system effects; have we learned anything from past experiences?

Charlotte Oliveira, Giuliano Russo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


The recent Ebola Virus Outbreak had a devastating effect on West Africa's already feeble national health systems. We suggest that such an impact turned out to be catastrophic because it hit particularly hard human resources for health and the delivery of primary healthcare services, which are cross-sectional to any health system. National and international interventions failed to understand the nature of this interaction, and concentrated on attending urgent specific vertical functions to fight the outbreak--the pillars--such as surveillance, logistics, safe burials etc. Such patchwork and vertical intervention strategy was always going to fail to tackle a system-wide problem, particularly in already fragile systems. We suggest that future interventions will have to learn from the experience of past initiatives for the introduction of HIV-AIDS services, which started as vertical programs and ended up including ever growing health system strengthening components.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-266
Number of pages4
JournalThe Pan African medical journal
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2015


  • Africa, Western
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • HIV Infections
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola
  • Humans
  • Primary Health Care
  • Journal Article


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