The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced its plan to set aside a contingency fund for prompt response to health emergencies.
This was decided on Sunday, January 26, 2015 amid criticism of the organization’s slow response to the recent Ebola outbreak.
The contingency fund is estimated to contain $100 million (89.7 million euros).
Other measures suggested during the meeting by the United States and South Africa was the creation of a rapid-response workforce, the development of “quality, safe, effective and affordable vaccines and treatments” and also appointing a WHO special representative to be in charge of the fight against Ebola.
Speaking at the meeting, WHO head Margaret Chan acknowledged that the agency’s response to the recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa had been slow.
“The world, including WHO, was too slow to see what was unfolding before us,”
“Ebola is a tragedy that has taught the world, including WHO, many lessons also about how to prevent similar events in the future,”
“This outbreak has shown that it is necessary to enhance crisis management at the agency to make it easier to recruit frontline workers,” she added.
According to Chan, the recent Ebola outbreak, has killed nearly 9,000 people since last year, almost all in the three West African countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
However, Chan also warned against complacency, adding that cases of the virus could increase if standard hygienic procedures were not followed or if communities violently opposed measures to fight the spread of the disease.