WHO “must reform” to deal effectively with pandemics like Zika

PandemicsWHO “must reform” to deal effectively with pandemics like Zika

Published 9 February 2016

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergency response capabilities are “lacking” and will put thousands of lives at risk if they are not reformed now, a UN panel, convened in the wake of the Ebola crisis, said. “This may be the last opportunity to ensure the WHO is empowered” to build an effective emergency response capacity, an advance unedited copy of the UN panel’s report warned.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergency response capabilities are “lacking” and will put thousands of lives at risk if they are not reformed now, a UN panel, convened in the wake of the Ebola crisis, said.

“This may be the last opportunity to ensure the WHO is empowered” to build an effective emergency response capacity, an advance unedited copy of the UN panel’s report warned.

“The high risk of major health crises is widely underestimated and… the world’s preparedness and capacity to respond is woefully insufficient,” the report said. “If the WHO does not successfully reform, the next major pandemic will cause thousands of otherwise preventable deaths. If the WHO does not successfully reform, the next major pandemic will cause thousands of otherwise preventable deaths.”

The Independent reports that the UN report, Protecting Humanity from Future Health Crises, is the latest in a series of reviews by global health experts which have been critical of the WHO’s response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

WHO halting response to the Ebola crisis puts even more pressure on the organization to react more effectively to the Zika virus crisis. The Zika virus has now been reported in thirty-three countries, and the agency is under scrutiny.

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