Independent report criticises WHO's handling of Ebola outbreak

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

An independent report commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) has criticised the body's performance in managing the recent Ebola outbreak in west Africa.

The panel of external experts carried out an assessment on all aspects of WHO's response in the Ebola epidemic, which was the worst in recorded history, and said the event "not only exposed organisational failings in the functioning of WHO, but it also demonstrated shortcomings in the International Health Regulations (2005)".

“An independent review has identified significant failings in the way the World Health Organization handled the recent Ebola outbreak in west Africa.“

It said the regulations failed to compel affected countries to meet the necessary standards of surveillance and data collection, or from avoiding unneeded travel bans that created negative political, economic and social consequences.

Meanwhile, the WHO was criticised for failing to declare a public health emergency early enough, while concerns were raised that it does not have the scale and capacity to deliver an effective response.

Responding to the report, the WHO said it is already moving forward on some of the panel's recommendations and continues to be committed to containing the still-ongoing outbreak.

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