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New Report Criticises WHO Role in Health Emergencies

July 8, 2015
Public Health

A new report released in the wake of the recent Ebola outbreak has claimed that the World Health Organisation (WHO), ‘does not currently possess the capacity or organizational culture to deliver a full emergency public health response’. The review led by Dame Barbara Stocking, a former head of Oxfam, was commissioned by the WHO’s own executive.

The document calls for an urgent overhaul of the organisation pointing out that despite the fact that Ebola began spreading in December 2013, it took until August 2014 for the WHO to declare the outbreak a major incident. The establishment of a Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response, along with a special outbreak response fund are two of the recommendations from the report. At present, less than 25% of the WHO budget comes from core funds from member states with none going towards emergency response.

Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust, is hopeful the report will give the WHO the backing needed to drastically overhaul the current system. “The recommendations outlined by the independent panel should give WHO the mandate it needs to lead the global response to future health crises. The proposal to establish a WHO centre for emergency preparedness and response is encouraging,” He said. “It’s essential that this new body is accountable and can show leadership in the face of emerging health threats, with the authority and independence to act quickly when needed.” The death toll from the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone now stands at over 11,000.

You can download a copy of the ‘Report of the Ebola Interim Assessment Panel’ HERE