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WHO Must Convene Emergency Committee To Coordinate International Response To Angola’s Yellow Fever Outbreak

Project Syndicate: The Return of Yellow Fever
Melvin Sanicas, program officer and global health fellow at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…In southwestern Africa, Angola is facing a serious yellow fever epidemic — its first in 30 years. … The good news is that, unlike Zika or Ebola, yellow fever can be controlled with an effective vaccine, which confers lifelong immunity within a month of administration. … [T]o end the outbreak, vaccination has to continue not only in Luanda, where an additional 1.5 million are at risk of infection, but also encompass other affected provinces. This will be a major challenge. … The WHO is working closely with several partners and the Angolan government to combat the current outbreak. But, as some health experts have pointed out, even more needs to be done. The WHO now must convene an emergency committee to coordinate a broader international response, mobilize funds, and spearhead the rapid scale-up of vaccine production, as well as a ‘standing emergency committee’ capable of addressing future public health crises quickly and effectively” (5/16).