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WHO criticised over its response to Ebola spread.

Byline: PA reporter newsdesk@walesonline.co.uk

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has admitted that it botched attempts to stop the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, blaming factors including incompetent staff and a lack of information.

"Nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall," WHO said in a draft internal document obtained by The Associated Press.

It noted that experts should have realised that traditional containment methods would not work in a region with porous borders and broken health systems.

The UN health agency acknowledged that, at times, even its own bureaucracy was a problem.

It noted that the heads of WHO country offices in Africa are "politically motivated appointments" made by the WHO regional director for Africa, Luis Sambo, who does not answer to the agency's chief in Geneva, Margaret Chan.

Peter Piot, the co-discoverer of the Ebola virus, agreed in an interview that WHO acted far too slowly, largely because of its Africa office.

"It's the regional office in Africa that's the frontline," he said.

"And they didn't do anything. That office is really not competent."

Piot also questioned why it took WHO five months and 1,000 deaths before the agency declared Ebola an international health emergency in August.

"I called for a state of emergency to be declared in July and for military operations to be deployed," he said.

But he said WHO might have been scarred by its experience during the 2009 swine flu pandemic, when it was slammed for hyping the situation.

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 18, 2014
Words:257
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