Ebola crisis: The unequal impact on women and children's health

By William Chin, PhD, Scientific Coordinator, EUCRAF

A group of authors from Barcelona Centre for International Health Research (CRESIB), Hospital Clínic - Universitat de Barcelona, Spain, Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), Centro de Investigação em Saúde de Manhiça and Women and Health Initiative, Maternal Health Task Force, Harvard School of Public Health have recently published a correspondence on the 22 January 2015 at The Lancet journal entitled "Ebola crisis: the unequal impact on women and children's health".

Menéndez et al reported that sociocultural and health-care-related factors contributed to the increase of risks factors for women in the Ebola outbreak in west Africa. These include suboptimal access to reproductive and maternal health care in the Ebola crisis countries. The authors quoted studies demonstrating that Ebola-infected pregnant women have high rates of miscarriage and a 100% neonatal mortality. It seemed that the health systems, social, and biological circumstances result in pregnant women with Ebola and their newborns are considered to be low priorities in the health-care facilities in west Africa.

Looking beyond the current Ebola crisis, the authors have urged global and national health communities to commit to long-term investments to ensure appropriate care for women and children's health under normal circumstances and in future crises. "Acting effectively now is a prerequisite to ending the preventable deaths of mothers and children in these settings", the authors reported.

In the latest Minutes of the 10-12 December 2014 PDCO meeting, published by EMA on the 26 January 2015, Dirk Mentzer, PDCO Chair, who is also a member of the EMA’s ad- hoc group on Ebola, ensures that there are strategies in place in investigating paediatric patients in Ebola development programs at the early stage of discussions. Applicants are currently being reminded that the paediatric requirements apply and that they have to come to the PDCO with a PIP if they consider submitting a centralised procedure MAA. 


1. Lancet Glob Health. 2015 Jan 21. pii: S2214-109X(15)70009-4. doi: 10.1016/S2214-109X(15)70009-4. Ebola crisis: the unequal impact on women and children's health. Menéndez C, Lucas A, Munguambe K, Langer A.

2. EMA News and Events, 26 January 2015, Minutes - PDCO minutes of the 10-12 December 2014 meeting