(WHO), criticized as being slow and poorly coordinated in its response
to West Africa’s Ebola outbreak, has commissioned an independent expert
panel to asses its handling of the deadly epidemic.
for failing to heed repeated warnings by the medical charity Medecins
Sans Frontieres in the early days of the epidemic, which quickly grew to
become the largest in history.
Ebola has now killed nearly 10,000 people in the three worst-affected
countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and infected more than
24,200 people since the outbreak began in Guinea a year ago.
Rates of new infections have come down swiftly in recent months,
however, and Liberia last week released its last known Ebola patient
WHO director-general Margaret Chan promised late last year to allow a
full, independent investigation of the WHO’s handling of the crisis
when the outbreak had been brought under control.
The independent panel will be chaired by Barbara Stocking, formerly
head of the British arm of the international charity Oxfam and currently
president of a college at Cambridge University, the WHO said in a
Other members include experts in health emergencies and disasters,
public health and biomedical research and come from various countries
including the United States, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the
Congo and Nigeria. The panel will publish an initial first progress
report on its findings in May.