More than six months into the worst Ebola outbreak in history, there is no clear sense of who is leading the international response, how funds are being collected and disbursed, which organizations are providing equipment and personnel, and when any of these efforts will make a significant difference in slowing the epidemic in West Africa.
The confusion and lack of coordination have delayed shipments of desperately needed supplies; some of those being pledged now won’t arrive for months. For example, a 62-bed facility that the British government on Monday promised to deliver will take eight weeks to be operational; the 25-bed field hospital the Pentagon has offered will take at least a month before it is up and running.
The lagging response means that the relief effort is three to four months behind where it should be, given the seriousness of the epidemic, health experts say.
“There is no one who is really in charge with the capacity and the ability to completely lead the international response,” said Josh Michaud, associate director of U.S. global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation.