Kenya: WHO calls for better preparedness for Ebola outbreaks

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - The Ebola outbreak is “clearly” retreating throughout the affected countries of West Africa but the continuing emergency response shows the need for urgent changes so that, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said

"Never again should the world be caught by surprise,” the WHO head told a special meeting on Ebola Sunday, the UN press.

Speaking in Geneva to the UN agency's Special Session of the Executive Board on Ebola, WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, emphasized the importance of maintaining momentum in the fight against the deadly virus.

She also emphasised the need for guarding against complacency while also delineating a set of recommendations for future large-scale and sustained outbreaks and emergencies.

“The Ebola outbreak points to the need for urgent change in three main areas,” Dr. Chan told the gathering.

“To rebuild and strengthen national and international emergency preparedness and response, to address the way new medical products are brought to market, and to strengthen the way WHO operates during emergencies.”

Above all, she said, the Ebola outbreak had revealed “some inadequacies and shortcomings” in the WHO's administrative, managerial and technical infrastructure.

The shortcomings include the need for “a dedicated contingency fund” to support rapid responses to outbreaks and emergencies.

There should also be “streamlined recruitment procedures” in order to increase the agency's personnel base; the application of a “one WHO” approach.

In the approach, all levels of the agency will use the same standard operating procedures, tools and frameworks for risk assessment, monitoring, and accountability during emergencies.

Dr. Chan underscored the need to enhance crisis management and field experience during emergencies in WHO country offices.

Echoing these points, UN Special Envoy for Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro, conveyed a message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reinforcing the call to draw lessons from this outbreak for the future.

In addition, he urged Member States to ensure that the WHO has the resources it needs to end Ebola transmission and build structures for future pandemics.

The probable suspected and confirmed case toll since the outbreak of Ebola in three West African countries- Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone - in January 2014, is 21,797 with 8,675 deaths.
-0- PANA DJ/VAO 26Jan2015

26 january 2015 14:09:20

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