Ebola crisis spurs new WHO reform programme

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The World Health Organization (WHO) chief said preparedness, awareness, and transparency are at the heart of the WHO reform process.

WHO Director General Margaret Chan said many lessons have been learned from the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and these will be incorporated in the reform process that is underway.

She said being prepared is decisive in fighting any epidemic or pandemic of such magnitude. She said that involves shoring up and strengthening the resilience of fragile health systems in Africa and elsewhere in the world. ‘In the past, when we talk about a health system, the tendency is to talk about clinical care, curative care. And now we should integrate the public health disease surveillance and laboratory testing as part of the health system capability,’ she stated.

As part of the reform programme, Dr. Chan said WHO is building a global emergency health work force. She said trained foreign medical teams will be on standby, ready to respond rapidly to a disease outbreak or natural disaster in any country.

She said decisive leadership, awareness of the dangers posed by an epidemic and being transparent about these problems are critical in controlling an outbreak.

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