Melbourne Children’s Global Health Forum June 2022

Protecting children during infectious diseases outbreaks: a case study from the West Africa Ebola Virus Disease epidemic

Dr Anna Barrett
The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa was the most severe in reported history. Children were disproportionately impacted, with thousands infected, killed, or orphaned. In the initial scramble to mobilise resources and mount responses, the unique needs of children in this context were often under-considered. Anna Barrett will describe her experiences as the Emergency Psychosocial Coordinator in an Ebola Treatment Centre in rural Sierra Leone, to highlight some of the issues that arose, strategies used, and lessons learned for protecting children in infectious disease outbreaks.

Health in Crisis – caring for children and adolescents in humanitarian emergencies
Dr Hamish Graham
Children and young people living in contexts of war, displacement, and natural disasters face many challenges to their health, safety and wellbeing – some unique, and many magnified by their environment. While traditional humanitarian response efforts prioritise the major infectious and nutritional killers of young children, emerging evidence recognises the need for broader attention to the needs and capacities of children and young people and better integration in response efforts. Hamish Graham shares his experiences working with WHO to develop operational guidance for health managers serving children and young people in humanitarian settings.


Dr Anna Barrett is a researcher and humanitarian response practitioner with experience in health, education, and child protection. She trained at the University of Melbourne as a clinical child psychologist and completed her PhD in the neurobiology of childhood maltreatment and depression, before joining international humanitarian responses in Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East from 2010-2020. After supporting Sierra Leone’s Ebola outbreak response in 2014, Anna has pursued a growing interest in global health through further training in infectious diseases and microbiology. Anna’s interests now lie at the intersection of global human, animal, and climate health and rights, and she currently works with the Nossal Institute’s One Health unit.

Dr Hamish Graham is a paediatrician and public health researcher based at Melbourne Children’s campus. His interests are in health equity and access to essential care for at-risk populations. Hamish leads the Global Oxygen Access program, and collaborates with academic, government, and NGO partners on projects related to pulse oximetry and oxygen, pneumonia, neonatal respiratory care, chronic health conditions and child disability. He worked with WHO to develop the Operational Guide for Child and Adolescent Health in Humanitarian Settings

Chair: Dr Alicia Quach, Melbourne Children’s Global Health

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