WHO is unfit for health emergencies, says independent panel

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 08 July 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h3723
  1. Anne Gulland
  1. 1London

The World Health Organization lacks the capacity and culture to deal with health emergencies, an independent report into WHO’s handling of the Ebola epidemic has found.1

The Ebola Interim Assessment Panel, commissioned by but independent of WHO, has urged large scale reform of the organisation, ruling out setting up a new health emergency agency.

The panel, chaired by the former chief executive of the UK based overseas aid charity Oxfam, Barbara Stocking, said that WHO did not “currently possess the capacity or organisational culture to deliver a full emergency public health response . . . When a health emergency occurs WHO must have the ability to shift into rapid decision making and action and to adapt and adjust its resource allocation methods of work and information practices accordingly.

“The panel really does believe that this is a defining moment for WHO …

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