Sonja Kristine Kittelsen & Vincent Charles Keating: Rational trust in resilient health systems

In Health Policy & Planning, 2019.


Sonja Kristine Kittelsen and Vincent Charles Keating 


The 2014–15 Ebola epidemic in West Africa highlighted the significance of trust between the public and public health authorities in the mitigation of health crises. Since the end of the epidemic, there has been a focus amongst scholars and practitioners on building resilient health systems, which many see as an important precondition for successfully combatting future outbreaks.

While trust has been acknowledged as a relevant component of health system resilience, we argue for a more sustained theoretical engagement with underlying models of trust in the literature. This article takes a first step in showing the importance of theoretical engagement by focusing on the appeal to rational models of trust in particular in the health system resilience literature, and how currently unconsidered assumptions in this model cast doubt on the effectiveness of strategies to generate trust, and therein resilience, during acute public health emergencies.


Trust, resilience, health systems, Ebola, health emergencies

Published Aug. 13, 2019 4:24 PM - Last modified Oct. 9, 2020 4:46 PM