Harvard, London School Panel’s Report Provides 10 Recommendations For Ebola Reform At WHO, Within Health Systems

News outlets highlight findings from a report published in The Lancet on the Ebola epidemic response by a panel convened by Harvard University’s Global Health Institute (HGHI) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

BBC News: Ebola global response was ‘too slow,’ say health experts
“A slow international response and a failure of leadership were to blame for the ‘needless suffering and death’ caused by the recent Ebola epidemic, an independent panel of global health experts has concluded. The panel’s report, published in The Lancet, said major reforms were needed to prevent future disasters…” (11/23).

CNN: Ebola crisis: WHO slammed by Harvard-convened panel over slow response
“…The panel … called for extensive reform in the way infectious diseases are managed around the world, but singled out the WHO in particular for criticism. ‘The most egregious failure was by WHO in the delay in sounding the alarm,’ said Ashish K. Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute…” (Ap, 11/23).

International Business Times: Ebola Outbreak: Health Experts Panel Criticizes WHO For ‘Slow’ Response To Epidemic
“…The panel … said that a lack of leadership and accountability resulted in the WHO’s failure to tackle the epidemic in time. The experts mainly criticized the organization for delaying its response and a decision to declare Ebola a public health emergency, after Guinea and Liberia alerted the health agency of the outbreak…” (Sonawane, 11/23).

Nature: Ebola experience leaves world no less vulnerable
“…The report comes from one of four major post-Ebola review panels that are expected to call for overhauling the way the international health community prevents and responds to outbreaks; others have been convened by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations, and the U.S. National Academy of Medicine. The current report lays out 10 recommendations for better preventing, detecting, and responding to outbreaks; for speeding research on diseases that cause them; and for reforming the global systems that manage them…” (Hayden, 11/22).

New York Times: Panels Advise Bolstering WHO for Crises Like Ebola
“…The group also recommended that an independent committee rather than the agency’s director general be charged with declaring future international public health emergencies, and that records of its deliberations be made public. A winnowing of the WHO’s priorities is also needed, the group said, noting that donors often choose to support pet projects, weakening the organization’s core functions…” (Fink, 11/22).

Reuters: Global health experts accuse WHO of ‘egregious failure’ on Ebola
“… ‘We need to strengthen core capacities in all countries to detect, report, and respond rapidly to small outbreaks in order to prevent them from becoming large-scale emergencies,’ said Peter Piot, LSHTM’s director and the chair of the panel. He said reform of national and global systems to respond to epidemics is not only feasible, but also essential ‘so that we do not witness such depths of suffering, death, and social and economic havoc in future epidemics’…” (Kelland, 11/22).

Wall Street Journal: Experts Propose Changes to How Infectious Diseases Are Handled
“…The panel said its recommendations are meant to counteract systemic problems such as political disincentives, lack of investment, and poor accountability that led an outbreak that started in a Guinean village nearly two years ago to spin out of control. ‘This epidemic has really exposed the fault lines in national and international systems,’ said Peter Piot, director of the LSHTM and chair of the panel. Ebola could be a game-changer much like HIV/AIDS, which ‘created global health,’ bringing scientists and human-rights activists together, Dr. Piot said…” (McKay, 11/22).

WIRED: We Blew It With Ebola. Scientists Don’t Want That to Happen Again
“…The report isn’t just about Ebola, the authors stress. ‘It’s about the next pandemic. It’s how we get ready for the virus we haven’t discovered yet,’ says Ashisha Jha, director of Harvard Global Health Institute and another panelist…” (Zhang, 11/22).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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