The World Health Organization has admitted serious failings in its handling of the Ebola crisis and pledged reforms to enable it to do better next time, its leadership said in a statement posted on the WHO website on April 16, which was reported on Sunday by Reuters.
“We have learned lessons of humility. We have seen that old diseases in new contexts consistently spring new surprises,” said the statement, attributed to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan and the deputy director-general and regional directors.
“We have taken serious note of the criticisms of the Organization that, inter alia, the initial WHO response was slow and insufficient, we were not aggressive in alerting the world … we did not work effectively in coordination with other partners, there were shortcomings in risk communications, and there was confusion of roles and responsibilities,” it said.
The statement listed eight lessons learned, including areas where the WHO’s response to Ebola could have been better, such as information sharing and communication.
Some critics have said that its reluctance to declare the outbreak an emergency were major factors in allowing the epidemic to balloon into the worst Ebola crisis on record, with more than 25,000 cases and 10,000 deaths.
The statement also spelled out the WHO’s plans to reform so that it would be prepared for similar emergencies in future.