Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Lori A. Demeter


In early 2014, 3 West African states of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone made news headlines when Ebola virus disease (EVD) ravaged the sub-region. The Liberian government was ill-equipped to efficiently contain EVD outbreak due to inadequate training for hospitals and healthcare workers. The government's mandatory cremation policies and the banning of public gatherings significantly contributed to the spread of EVD. EVD infected 10,666 and 4,808 died from the disease in the first 6 months of the epidemic. Using Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) as the theoretical framework, the purpose of this case study research was to examine the social, economic, and policy factors that contributed to the spread of EVD in the city of Monrovia, Liberia. Utilizing snowball sampling to identify participants, data were collected through in-depth interviews with 30 participants that included 10 EVD survivors, 10 family caregivers, 2 government officials, 4 nongovernmental organization staff, 2 academicians, and 2 members of the media. All data were inductively coded and analyzed using Braun and Clarke's thematic analysis procedure. Two key themes were identified through data analysis. First, participants noted that a better understanding of cultural traditions may have created opportunities for intervention that prevented unnecessary exposure to the virus. Second, survivors and caregivers experienced a 'hope for the best, but expect the worst' mentality throughout the experience that guided faith. The positive social change implications stemming include recommendations to the government of Monrovia to implement culturally sensitive policies related to pandemic containment, including training of healthcare workers and the public in the event of disease outbreak.