Global Health Experts Say Response To Ebola Was Full Of Failures

A group of 19 global health experts reviewing the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa harshly criticized how the World Health Organization and other bodies responded to the crisis.

The Harvard Global Health Institute and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine assembled the Independent Panel on the Global Response to Ebola, which analyzed the response to the outbreak and on Sunday issued 10 reform proposals for future pandemics.

The outbreak “exposed deep inadequacies in the national and international institutions responsible for protecting the public from the far-reaching human, social, economic, and political consequences of infectious disease outbreaks,” their report stated.

Panelist Ashish K. Jha, director of the HGHI, said WHO was too slow in “sounding the alarm” after the initial Ebola outbreak began.

“The most egregious failure was by WHO in the delay in sounding the alarm,” he said, according to the Harvard Gazette. “People at WHO were aware that there was an Ebola outbreak that was getting out of control by spring, and yet it took until August to declare a public health emergency.”

The Ebola virus has killed 11,000 people and infected 28,00 since the current outbreak in West Africa began in 2013, according to the panel’s report. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone were the nations most badly affected.

One section of the report pointed to “systemic weaknesses” that were exposed in the outbreak, revealing there was a “lack of capacity” to detect the virus in Guinea for several months that led it to spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“This phase underscored the problem of inadequate investments in health infrastructure, despite national governments’ formal commitments to do so under the International Health Regulations,” the report read. “It also —> Read More