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Ebola: WHO under fire over response to epidemic

28.Nov.14, 20:00; Icon 945; Date 0; Attitude +0 | 0 | -0

The World Health Organization (WHO), set up by the United Nations in 1948, is the world's biggest and most important public health body.

There is no question that it has had some major successes: it has ensured that millions of children worldwide are free from the danger of polio, the crippling virus is now endemic in just three countries.

It runs huge programmes aimed at combating HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis, and its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is ensuring that countries are banning smoking in public places and clamping down on tobacco advertising.

But when it comes to a sudden new health threat, or a danger in an unexpected region, many say the WHO does not really deliver.

The 2009 swine flu pandemic is, it is claimed, a case in point.
Unstoppable

When the first cases of a new flu virus were reported in Mexico City, the WHO had already been preparing for a global influenza pandemic with many experts suggesting it could be as devastating as the post-World War One Spanish flu.

There were reasons for the fears. Medical historians knew that a serious flu pandemic could be expected once in a generation.

Furthermore the H1N1 "bird flu" virus did have a high mortality rate, although it had not shown much ability to spread from human to human.

www.bbc.com




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