‘Science Speaks’ Discusses Expert’s Critique Of WHO Committee’s Decision To Not Recognize DRC’s Ebola Outbreak As Emergency
IDSA’s “Science Speaks”: Global Health Security 2019: Committee’s failure to declare Ebola emergency undermines WHO’s legitimacy, experts say
Rabita Aziz, senior global health policy specialist at the Infectious Diseases Society of America, who is covering the Global Health Security conference in Sydney, Australia, taking place from June 18-20, highlights discussion of the WHO emergency committee’s recent decision not to recognize the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Aziz writes, “The decision by [the WHO emergency committee] … may contribute to an erosion of the multilateral agency’s legitimacy and authority over the long term, experts said … The decisions not to declare PHEICs not only impact the response to the outbreak, as the declaration of PHEICs often acts as a ‘clarion call’ to the international community, mobilizes funding, and helps accelerate responses, [Mark Eccleston-Turner of Keele University] said, but also carry long-term implications for international law. … ‘We already know that states are ignoring the [international health regulations (IHR)] by not reporting outbreaks,’ Eccleston-Turner said. ‘This is a fragile international agreement predicated on trust. The chances of states ignoring their IHR obligations only increases as the WHO ignores PHEIC criteria,’ he added” (6/17).