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Title: 1 year on—lessons from the Ebola outbreak for WHO
Year: 2015
Abstract: This week has seen what is likely to be the beginning of an onslaught of criticism levelled against WHO for its handling of the Ebola outbreak in west Africa. First, ahead of the 1-year anniversary of the outbreak’s start, an article by the Associated Press (AP) reported that WHO deliberately delayed declaring the Ebola epidemic as an emergency in early June, 2014, waiting instead until Aug 8 to fi nally make the announcement. AP obtained internal emails and documents suggesting that senior WHO offi cials were not only told of the desperate situation, but also received anguished pleas for help. Instead of taking urgent and decisive action, the article said WHO decided that managing the political repercussions in countries would outweigh the benefi ts that declaring an emergency would bring. It “could be seen as a hostile act”, said one memo. Downplaying the epidemic may have cost lives, said AP. In response, WHO insisted that the spread of the virus was unprecedented, and the lack of resources and intelligence on the ground hindered its ability to act.
Appears in Collections:Lancet 2015

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