World + 3 more

Report of the Ebola Interim Assessment Panel, 7 July 2015

Evaluation and Lessons Learned
Originally published


Executive Summary

The Panel believes that this is a defining moment for the health of the global community. WHO must re-establish its pre-eminence as the guardian of global public health; this will require significant changes throughout WHO with the understanding that this includes both the Secretariat and the Member States. At each of its three levels, the Secretariat must undergo significant transformation in order to better perform its core function of protecting global health. For their part, Member States must provide, at their highest political levels, the required political and financial support to their Organization. While WHO has already accepted the need for transformation of its organizational culture and delivery, it will need to be held accountable to ensure that this transformation is achieved.

The Ebola crisis not only exposed organizational failings in the functioning of WHO, but it also demonstrated shortcomings in the International Health Regulations (2005). If the world is to successfully manage the health threats, especially infectious diseases that can affect us all, then the Regulations need to be strengthened. We ask that the full Review Committee under the International Health Regulations (2005) to examine the role of the Regulations in the Ebola outbreak (the IHR Review Committee for Ebola), which follows our Panel, consider and take forward the implementation of our recommendations. Had the recommendations for revision made in 2011 by the Review Committee in relation to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 been implemented,1 the global community would have been in a far better position to face the Ebola crisis. The world simply cannot afford another period of inaction until the next health crisis.

Our report and recommendations fall under the following three headings: the International Health Regulations (2005); WHO’s health emergency response capacity; and WHO’s role and cooperation with the wider health and humanitarian systems.