WHO can’t fully deal with Ebola outbreak, health official warns

Friday, July 18, 2014
By Paul Martin

By Marianne LeVine
July 17, 2014

International health officials warned Thursday that recent budget cuts have impeded the ability of the World Health Organization to respond to the Ebola outbreak that has killed at least 603 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“The situation in West Africa should be a wake-up call to recognize that this weakening of this institution on which we all depend is not in anybody’s interest,” Scott Dowell, director of disease detection and emergency response at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a briefing in Washington. “In my view, there’s no way that WHO can respond in a way that we need it to.”

Partly because of declining donations from member countries during the global recession, the United Nations-backed WHO has suffered a 12% drop in its program budget in the last two years. This year’s budget is $3.98 billion.

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