WHO Director General Should Reconvene Emergency Committee, Consider Declaring PHEIC For DRC Ebola Outbreak
The Lancet: Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: time to sound a global alert?
Lawrence Gostin, director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, and colleagues
“…A storm of detrimental factors complicates [the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)]: armed conflict, political instability, and mass displacement. WHO, the DRC Government, and non-governmental organization (NGO) partners have shown remarkable leadership but are badly stretched. The outbreak remains far from controlled, risking a long-term epidemic with regional, perhaps global, impacts. Faced with an evolving complex humanitarian crisis, and recent elections complete, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus should reconvene the Emergency Committee (EC) and consider declaring a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). … The EC should recommend proactive measures on health, diplomacy, security, and community engagement. … A PHEIC is a clarion call to galvanize high-level political, financial, and technical support. … WHO has shown leadership and operational endurance, working tirelessly to combat the DRC Ebola epidemic. But WHO and partners cannot succeed alone. We live at a political moment when international solutions to collective threats are increasingly hard to achieve. But WHO and the U.N. system will be called upon with ever-greater frequency in the future to manage complex humanitarian crises. We must plan for a future in which political violence and instability become the new abnormal” (2/4).
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