Emergency Response | West Africa

Communications equipment, connectivity solutions and crisis data mapping unified and enabled the Ebola effort in West Africa.

60% Fatality Ratefor those infected

25 Relief AgenciesWorking on the Ground

Ebola Effort UnifiedThrough Connectivity and Data Maps


The Problem

When the first press coverage of the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa hit global newsstands in September, 2014, the shock of the world was palpable. The largest epidemic of its kind, Ebola carried with it a great deal of mystery and fear, exacerbated by a severe lack of communications capacity when and where it was most needed.

The Solution

In collaboration with its partners, NetHope acted as a rapid first responder in Ebola-affected countries, providing much-needed communications equipment and deploying connectivity solutions that unified disparate sources of humanitarian care and ensured those affected were efficiently cared for. NetHope also provided several tons of mobile satellite terminals, VSATs, and satellite phones that enabled government and nonprofit Ebola responders to communicate instantly with each other and the rest of the world. This effort was directly responsible for the effective, coordinated delivery of healthcare services, food, water, shelter services, and the timely flow of the critical data needed to understand, and ultimately contain, the outbreak.

Additionally, in partnership with crisis informatics experts, NetHope provided critical visualizations of mobile networks, a map of Ebola treatment units, the trajectory of new outbreaks and their relationship to mobile coverage areas, ensuring that those in need of care were able to receive it quickly and that providers were prepared to receive them, preventing further spread of the virus to other individuals.


  • NetHope boosted the bandwidth of 44 locations and implemented brand new set up in 32, rapidly responding where infection was most prevalent and spreading the fastest
  • Communications tools acted as a lifeline for Ebola emergency response, serving an estimated 22 million beneficiaries
  • 11 metric tons of communications equipment was delivered to crisis areas, aiding humanitarian response and enabling coordination of critical efforts
  • More than 65 responding organizations were served with mobile, satellite and point-to-point connectivity solutions, enabling an estimated 5,000 staff
  • 100 digital volunteers were mobilized to provide informatics mappings to deliverers of aid
Measuring temperature at a road block in Sierra Leone. By JuliaBroska [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)],via Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Julia Broska

Measuring temperature at a road block in Sierra Leone.

The ability of our teams to access and share information in real time is not simply a matter of greater efficiency; it saves lives.

Nigel Chapman, CEO of Plan International