DELEGATES from 180 countries at the annual World Health Assembly (世界衛生大會 ), which ended on 26 May, approved plans for a contingency fund to tackle future emergencies, which will be reviewed after two years. The pilot project will be financed by “flexible voluntary contributions”, according to WHO chief Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun (陳馮富珍 ).
The World Health Organization (WHO, 世界衛生組織) has drawn biting criticism for its delayed response to the Ebola (伊波拉) crisis and its failure to identify the outbreak which has killed 11,132 people so far, almost all of them in West Africa (西非).
Participants at the world’s biggest public health gathering, which brought together 3,000 delegates, also approved WHO plans for deep reforms to respond better to future crises. This “will be guided by an all-hazards health emergency approach, that emphasises adaptability, flexibility and accountability, humanitarian principles, predictability, timeliness and country ownership,” a statement said.
The new programme will also coordinate a new global health emergency workforce – called for during a rare emergency session of WHO’s executive board in January.
The skills of WHO’s emergency staff will also be boosted with the addition of logisticians, medical anthropologists and experts in risk communication. The measures came as the WHO warned on 26 May that the Ebola outbreak was far from over and could persist throughout the course of the year.
Although Liberia (利比里亞) was recently declared Ebola-free, neighbouring Sierra Leone (塞拉利昂) and Guinea (幾內亞) were miles away from that status, Bruce Aylward, WHO’s Assistant Director for Emergencies, told reporters.
He said the target “in a best case scenario” would be September, but this was not the case as the two countries also had to face the region’s torrential rainy season, which would greatly hamper Ebola fire-fighting efforts.
(AFP, 26 May 2015)
World Health Organization
WHO: WHA 68 – speech by Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General
Keywords: WHO, WHA 68, Margaret Chan