Int'l experts reprimand WHO over Ebola crisis response
- An international group of thought-leaders convened by experts at the Harvard Global Health Institute and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine are calling for a complete overhaul of the World Health Organization's (WHO) emergency-response capabilities. The group outlined their harsh critique in a report, which included 10 specific recommendations.
- The panel recommended that the WHO get rid of unnecessary programs in order to invest more in emergency-response capabilities, and to stop earmarking donor funds instead of having a large pool of money to draw from when necessary.
- This report, which was recently published in the Lancet, suggested that the credibility of WHO has suffered as a result of the way the agency handled the crisis---which killed a total of 11,314 people.
What is the appropriate response to an outbreak that is 10 times larger than all of the previous outbreaks combined? Definitely not the way the WHO responded, according to the panel of experts who wrote the report published in the Lancet. The panel also suggested that prompt disclosure should be encouraged and that countries imposing Ebola-related trade and travel restrictions should suffer reprisals.
The report also obliquely criticized the leadership of Secretary General Margaret Chan, who has acknowledged that the agency's response capabilities were overwhelmed by the scope and intensity of the Ebola crisis.
This report is one of six that are expected, including one from the United Nations. Undoubtedly, all will be critical, but there will also be a firm basis for considering changes. The Lancet report can be found here.