Code Red for the World Health Organization
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Code Red for the World Health Organization

Who Health Organization Building-Geneva

Alarming news, for the World Health Organization's handling of the Ebola epidemic, was published by the United Nations' Ebola Interim Assessment Panel.  In a report made public, the UN announced that the “WHO does not currently possess the capacity or organizational culture to deliver a full emergency public health response.” This announcement has sent shock waves throughout the International medical community.  Many have commented that if the World Health Organization cannot "handle" an epidemic, then which International Organization can the world depend on when the next epidemic emerges?

The UN panel, headed by  Cambridge University's  Barbara Stocking, further asserted "that the WHO needs to re-establish its pre-eminence as the guardian of global public health and that this will require it to make significant changes throughout, with strong political and financial support from the Member States."   According to the WHO website, in 2011 the World Health Assembly only approved Assessed Contributions (Member States’ fees) totaled only 23% of the total budget for 2012-13." The Los Angeles Times added that the remainder of the WHO's money is from voluntary funds and that there are no core funds for emergency response. Additional information on WHO's funding is available at: 

Observations by the UN Ebola Interim Assessment Panel include:
I.   The World Health Organization must undergo fundamental changes if it is to fulfill its function of protecting global health.
II.   The UN panel said it would be “far more effective and efficient” to revamp the WHO. Further stating that “this transformation must be carried out urgently,” 
III   Many decisions made by the WHO  were influenced by politics.  
VI  The WHO was slow in declaring Ebola an epidemic.
VII The communications strategy of the WHO was deficient.
VIII WHO member states failed to help monetarily as well as major WHO donors who didn't push the health body to replenish funds to the weakened emergency response section.
IX.The panel did not blame any one person for criticism, it rather placed the blame on the U.N. organization’s bureaucratic culture

The Los Angeles Times carried WHO's response to the UN report: "The WHO stated it was already moving forward on some of the recommendations, including the development of a global workforce that can be deployed in a health emergency and the establishment of a contingency fund to ensure that resources are available for the initial response."

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