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Social science could play a definitive role in fighting the spread of deadly infectious diseases. The Ebola crisis in West Africa is a good example where social science helped out. Part of solving this crisis rested on developing a transparent understanding and study of the pathogens involved and increasing investment in medicines. However, there were a series of social science needs too. For example, it was essential to understand the individuals suffering from the disease and the wider society they were living in.

Doctors needed to figure out how people’s attitudes were directed toward particular things such as washing hands and other sanitary behaviors. Plus, it was essential to dig deeper into bigger questions such as why do states fail and how they could be rebuilt, strengthened. In addition to this, the fight against the Ebola crisis needed specialists in markets, administration, drug pricing, fund raising, human resources, and leadership.