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WHO ‘unfit for health emergencies’

WT24 Desk

The World Health Organization (WHO) lacks the “capacity and culture” to deal with global health emergencies, says the chair of a new independent report on Ebola. Dame Barbara Stocking says WHO failed in its handling of the deadly disease outbreak, which has killed more than 11,000 people, mostly in West Africa. But the ex-head of Oxfam says WHO is not solely to blame, BBC reports.

The whole humanitarian system lacked foresight, she said. The full report, commissioned by WHO, will be published later today. The WHO has set out plans for reform, admitting that it was too slow to respond to the deadly Ebola outbreak that began in 2013. In August 2014, the WHO declared it a public health emergency of international concern. By that point, more than 1,000 people had died of the virus.

Dame Barbara said changes needed to happen. “We will be making recommendations to the WHO about how it needs to change itself. “To me, coming from somewhere like Oxfam which is an emergency culture, you are very much, if you like, on the front foot. You are always trying to prevent a situation coming through or grab it when it starts and really get it under control very fast and those are some of the internal changes that have to be made at WHO.”

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