The assessment team

WHO Responds to Ebola Assessment Panel's Report

WHO's announcement said the agency is already working on some of the recommendations, including the development of the global health emergency workforce and a contingency fund to ensure needed resources are available to mount an initial response.

The World Health Organization responded July 7 to a report from its Ebola Interim Assessment Panel, thanking its members for their rapid review and recommendations. WHO also announced that Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan will convene a review committee of the International Health Regulations next month so Member State representatives can discuss the recommendations, including one for establishing an intermediate level of alert to sound an alarm earlier than a full Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

"The Ebola crisis not only exposed organizational failings in the functioning of WHO, but it also demonstrated shortcomings in the International Health Regulations," the report's executive summary states. "If the world is to successfully manage the health threats, especially infectious diseases that can affect us all, then the Regulations need to be strengthened. We ask that the full Review Committee under the International Health Regulations (2005) to examine the role of the Regulations in the Ebola outbreak (the IHR Review Committee for Ebola), which follows our Panel, consider and take forward the implementation of our recommendations. Had the recommendations for revision made in 2011 by the Review Committee in relation to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 been implemented,1 the global community would have been in a far better position to face the Ebola crisis. The world simply cannot afford another period of inaction until the next health crisis."

The recommendations are in three areas: the International Health Regulations, WHO's health emergency response capacity, and WHO's role and cooperation with the wider health and humanitarian systems. It reiterates the need for a unified program for health emergencies.

WHO's announcement said the agency is already working on some of the recommendations, including the development of the global health emergency workforce and a contingency fund to ensure needed resources are available to mount an initial response.

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