Designating Ebola In DRC As Public Health Emergency Of International Concern Could Result In ‘Force For Good’

The Lancet: The politics of PHEIC
Editorial Board

“An emergency committee decided on June 14 that the current Ebola virus disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo did not warrant a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). … We disagree. The decision appears more political than technical and that is a mistake. The committee seems to have favored local protectiveness over global galvanizing. Yes, Uganda deserves visible credit for its preparedness, collaboration, and transparency. Yes, nearby countries should feel bolstered by the confidence of WHO and its director general. And yes, recalcitrant donors should be reassured of the ability of African countries to prepare for and contain infectious disease outbreaks, and thus be deserving of investment. But calling a PHEIC would not distract from any of these local interests, and the decision might backfire in terms of not inciting a sense of urgency from the international community. PHEIC could be a force for good, mobilizing global resources and communities to build solidarity, preparedness, trust, and resolution of conflict. … Global financial and political support is badly needed, and a PHEIC declaration would have produced that” (6/18).