Panel Pushes for WHO Center for Health Emergencies

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The World Health Organization should establish a single, unified WHO Center for Health Emergency Preparedness and Response — but not with Director-General Margaret Chan at the helm.

In its final report, launched Tuesday, July 7, the panel tasked to review WHO’s early response to the Ebola crisis asked the leadership of the U.N. health agency to establish an independent board to oversee the center, which it deemed needed “new organizational structures and procedures.”

The center needs to be headed by a different individual who must have “full operational authority” in emergencies. The post, the panel argued, should be “advertised immediately” — based on the phrasing, the panel seems to suggest that a competitive application process is needed to find the head of the new center, instead of going through an appointments system.

“The head of this new center must be: a strong leader and a strategic thinker, with political, diplomatic, crisis coordination, organizational and managerial skills; and able to make sound decisions quickly, and to discern when to move from a situation of normal readiness and alert to rapid response in the field. A finely honed sense of how to coordinate with many other partners and actors is essential,” the report reads.

In her opening speech at the 68th World Health Assembly in May, Chan announced the creation of a single program for health emergencies that will be directly under her, and for which she personally pledged accountability.

Source: Devex (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases