WHO, Should Africa Depend On?: World Health Organization Incapable of Adequate Response to Epidemics

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Army_researcher_fighting_Ebola_on_front_linesThe World Health Organization lacks the capacity and internal culture to mount an effective response to an epidemic such as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, according to a searing report that also blames governments for failing to support the group.

The report, led by Dame Barbara Stocking, a former head of Oxfam, was commissioned by the WHO’s executive. It says the organization was too slow in its response to the Ebola epidemic and that it was underfunded.

“The panel considers that WHO does not currently possess the capacity or organizational culture to deliver a full emergency public health response,” the report says.

More than 11,000 people have died in the latest outbreak of Ebola, which began spreading in late 2013. Some have argued for replacing the WHO, but the panel said it must still take the lead in world health disasters.

The WHO must “re-establish its pre-eminence as the guardian of global public health,” it says, but that will mean major changes to the way it works.

Part of the blame for its inadequacies is placed at the door of member states, which the report says have not fulfilled their responsibilities under the WHO’s international health regulations. They are required to collect data and carry out surveillance to pick up infectious disease outbreaks at an early stage, but they failed, the report says.

Others violated the regulations by imposing bans on travel to the affected West African nations – Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. These and other measures “significantly interfered with international travel, causing negative political, economic and social consequences for the affected countries,” the report says.

Read entire article: The Guardian

 

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