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Towards a better epidemic

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 07 May 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2419
  1. Tony Delamothe, deputy editor, The BMJ
  1. tdelamothe{at}

The consensus seems to be that no one had a particularly good Ebola epidemic, with the exception of the charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). This begs the question of who makes these judgment calls, and what was the last “good” epidemic you can remember?

The World Health Organization got it in the neck for delivering too little, too late, and its own report last week joined in the criticisms, listing lessons learnt and actions planned (doi:10.1136/bmj.h2144). MSF thought the problems went wider than WHO. The international response had been a “global coalition of inaction,” its report concluded (doi:10.1136/bmj.h1619). “For the Ebola outbreak to spiral this far out of control required many institutions to fail,” …

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