Accused of having wasted months before declaring war on the Ebola virus in west Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a program to better cope with disease outbreaks and health emergencies. Member states of the WHO have agreed a long-awaited reform of the agency so that it responds more quickly and effectively to emergency situations.
"WHO member states today agreed to one of the most profound transformations in the organization's history, establishing a new Health Emergencies Program," the WHO said.
‘Member states of the World Health Organization have agreed a long-awaited reform of the agency so that it responds more quickly and effectively to emergency situations.’
"The new program is designed to deliver rapid, predictable, and comprehensive support to countries and communities as they prepare for, face or recover from emergencies caused by any type of hazard to human health, whether disease outbreaks, natural or man-made disasters or conflicts."
To fund the reforms WHO delegates meeting this week in Geneva approved an increase of $160 million (143 million euros) in the existing program budget for emergencies for 2016-2017. In total, the new program will have $494 million for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
The reforms mean all WHO activities for emergency situations will come under a single program, with its own staff. The new teams are to be operational at WHO headquarters in Geneva and the six regional offices by the end of 2016.