Emergency, preparedness, and UK global health policy following the 2014 West African Ebola epidemic

Michael Rabi*, Limor Samimian-Darash

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In this article, we analyze UK global health policy in the light of the 2014 Ebola epidemic. Specifically, we focus on the UK government’s intervention in the epidemic, reflections on the UK’s response in parliamentary committees and government-sponsored forums, and subsequent UK global health policy changes. Post-Ebola, we argue, UK global health policy turned into a pursuit of global health emergency-preparedness through development. This, we further suggest, resulted from what we identify as the specific structure of the UK’s emergency-preparedness configuration that creates a ‘spill-over’ between the immediate event (of emergency) and future preparedness. This configuration transmits problems between different temporalities–allowing immediate, urgent problems to become problems of future uncertainty (and future uncertainties to be enacted as urgent problems). In activating emergency-preparedness, furthermore, self-scrutiny is triggered–prompting the UK to assume responsibility for problems identified as threats regardless of their point of origin, thus internalizing external problems.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)426-444
Number of pages19
JournalCritical Policy Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Ebola
  • Emergency
  • global health policy
  • preparedness


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