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article imageDocument shows WHO officials admit to 'botching' Ebola response

By Greta McClain     Oct 17, 2014 in Health
Geneva - An internal document from the World Health Organization (WHO) admits that the organization "botched" efforts to control the spread of Ebola.
A draft of the internal WHO document, which was obtained by the Associated Press, says in part that almost everyone within WHO involved in the Ebola response efforts failed to recognize how quickly the Ebola virus could spread. The Star quotes the document as saying:
“Nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall.”
According to a Boston Globe report, a senior official with WHO warned experts gathered at a June meeting to address the Ebola outbreak that government and non-governmental health agencies believed WHO was ‘‘compromising rather than aiding the response’’ to the Ebola crisis.
Also in June, Dr. Bruce Aylward, head of polio eradication, sent and email to Dr Margaret Chan, the head of WHO, and expressed concern about WHO's African leadership. She also told Chan "none of the news about WHO's performance is good."
The document also states that some appointments made by the WHO offices in Africa were “politically motivated” and pointed to the fact that Dr Luis Sambo, regional director for WHO in Africa, does not answer to Chan. It also claims the agencies own bureaucratic red tape hindered the response.
In fact, WHO officials expressed concern that the head of its Guinea office refused to assist in gaining visas for a team of Ebola experts. Administrative obstacles within that same office also prevented $500,000 in aid from being administered, calling both instances “particularly alarming.”
Dr. Peter Piot, who is the director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and co-discoverer of the Ebola virus, told The Guardian it would have been relatively easy to contain the Ebola outbreak if WHO had responded to the initial outbreak properly, saying:
“Something that is easy to control got completely out of hand. It may be that we have to wait for a vaccine to stop the epidemic."
More about Ebola, Ebola virus, World health organization, Who, ebola epidemic
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