The death toll continues to mount—at the time of writing it was 650 and rising—and health ministers from the Southern African Development Community have announced a strategic plan to prevent the spread of the virus into our region, and to treat any people who are infected.
Of course, it’s a humanitarian disaster first and foremost, but the implications for business are profound, both generally and in this specific case.
As an immediate action, companies should take a look at their business continuity, crisis management and associated plans (pandemic). Obviously, Ebola is top-of-mind so it is worthwhile adapting a general strategy to the current crisis—just in case. This would be particularly relevant for companies that have business links with the West African region, or whose people visit it, or whose people are particularly at risk. Freight or courier companies and health care professionals are two examples that spring to mind.
Tracey Linnell, General Manager: Advisory Services at ContinuitySA says that companies could do well to dust off their plans for an outbreak of the SARS virus/pandemic and use them as a starting point for an Ebola-related plan of action.
A key element of the strategy is communication with employees, and that should begin now. Education is key to preventing infection, and to getting treatment quickly in the case of infection. It’s also a way to prevent any sense of panic in companies whose employees are likely to be brought into direct contact with people from the West African region.
In out next blog, we’ll look at some of the broader implications of pandemics.
Monitor the Ebola pandemic (and any others) and get useful information from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.