WHO sets up $100m contingency fund

2015-05-18 19:00
(Laurent Gillieron, AP)

(Laurent Gillieron, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Geneva - The World Health Organisation is setting up a $100m contingency fund to ensure that the UN agency will not be "overwhelmed" by a major crisis again as it was with Ebola.

The WHO and director general Margaret Chan have come under fire for their slow response to West Africa's Ebola epidemic, which began in Guinea in December 2013 but was not declared an international public health emergency until August 2014.

"I do not ever again want to see this organisation faced with a situation it is not prepared, staffed, funded, or administratively set up to manage," Chan told health ministers on Monday at the start of the WHO's annual nine-day assembly.

"I plan to complete these changes by the end of the year."

Chan, a former health director of Hong Kong at the helm of the WHO since January 2007, said that the WHO had been "overwhelmed" by the Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 11 000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Asked later by a reporter whether she had considered resigning or had been asked to, she replied: "The answer is no. Nobody ever asked me. The buck stops with me. As a responsible leader you need to learn lessons and make the right changes."

Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the WHO's 194 member states that the organisation must streamline management to respond quickly to crises like the "Ebola catastrophe".

"We ought to have reacted far earlier," she said.

"I am convinced that if we act faster and have a clear command structure in place, we will be better equipped to combat a crisis like Ebola next time that happens," Merkel said.

"The WHO is the only international organisation that has universal political legitimacy on global health issues. This is why it is so important to render its structures more efficient."

Guinea has seen a spate of new Ebola cases due to transmissions at funerals, a worrying sign as it seeks to stamp out the epidemic, a health official said on Friday.

Liberia became the first of the three hardest-hit countries to be declared free of the virus this month, completing a 42-day period without a case.

Guinea and Sierra Leone reported 9 confirmed cases in the week to May 10, the lowest weekly total this year, WHO says.

Read more on:    world health organisation  |  ebola  |  health

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.