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November 20, 2014

Liberian Leaders and Aid Groups at Odds Over Ebola Response

Minutes of high-level meetings between Liberian officials and international aid agencies, obtained by The New York Times, show clashes over planning, coordination, and allocation of resources that are hampering the fight to curb Ebola in the West African country. More than a hundred government and United Nations agencies, charities, and donor groups are involved in the sprawling response to Ebola in Liberia, which has seen reports of new cases drop sharply in the past two months.

Detailed accounts of the sessions of the Incident Management System, a national Ebola task force, shed light on an often contentious and messy process marked by disputes over issues such as deployment of vehicles, placement of field hospitals, patchy services for survivors and their families, and uncertainty over death and case counts.

The minutes show Liberian officials regularly arguing that external partners have not involved them in decision-making, while international groups complain of bureaucratic snags and logistical problems. Participants characterized the meetings as "collegial" and "effective" but marked by "passionate discussions."