Dilemmas faced by WHO in connection with the Ebola Emergency response

Below are extracts from an article in the BMJ (with thanks to our sister forum HIFA-EVIPNet-French). The full text is available here:


A linked article concludes: ‘[Member States] should support unequivocally the strengthening of WHO and its multilateral solutions and not favor solutions outside WHO’.


Dilemmas faced by the World Health Organization in connection with the Ebola Emergency response

‘On January 25th a Special Session of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Executive Board will be convened to discuss the Ebola emergency and the WHO response to the epidemic that has affected several countries in West Africa It is the third time in the history of WHO that the Executive Board organizes a Special Session. This is motivated by the multiple difficulties faced by the international response to the problem, resulting in ineffective and untimely action in countries lacking the adequate health infrastructure and sufficient health workforce…

‘The fight against Ebola has been full of mistakes and has lacked coordination…

‘In the weeks before the release of these two documents many worrisome ideas and opinions on the issues at stake floated in different media:

1) the idea of creating a new international agency for facing health emergency situations, relegating WHO to a role of producing technical norms and standards without any armed branches for orchestrating operational responses at country, regional or global level;

2) creating an international health emergency response fund outside WHO; and

3) creating an international corps of emergency health workers managed outside WHO and not linked neither to the structures established by the International Health Regulations approved in 2005 nor to the Health Cluster that is part of the International Humanitarian Response.

‘Evidently these absurd ideas have been triggered by the frustration resulting from the lack of an effective and timely response. However they point in the wrong direction fostering proposals that would only weaken the global health architecture and its current coordination mechanisms… It is time to halt this trend and make the necessary steps for rationalizing the huge dispersion of channels and mechanisms associated to the global health partnerships created during the last 20 years at a high cost for the effective coordination of international public health.’

Let’s build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare knowledge – Join HIFA: www.hifa2015.org  


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