WHO Response to Ebola Epidemic a Key Issue at World Health Summit

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Ebola virus epidemicThe seventh annual World Health Summit (WHS) concluded in Berlin, Germany yesterday. Core speaking topics included the Ebola virus, medical education, and the refugee crisis. In what’s being dubbed “the most prominent forum for addressing global health issues,” this year’s summit boasted 1,400 medical experts, politicians, and scientists for a three-day conference.

At the top of this year’s agenda was the World Health Organization (WHO)’s response to the Ebola epidemic, with many panelists agreeing that the WHO was too slow in its reaction and solution to the crisis. Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the WHO, stated, “Countries are very good at making promises, [but] do not honor their commitment.”

German Health Minister Hermann Grohe added that “the epidemic has dramatically shown that the world is not adequately prepared for health crises of this scale.”

The refugee crisis and the mass migration across European nations was another hot topic. The summit’s founding President, Dr. Detlev Ganten, admitted that organizations like the WHO have to be “strengthened” to better address these types of issues, but acknowledges that they are “restricted in their scope of action by their constitution…there are certain things they can do other things they cannot.” He added that health services were not properly prepared for the refugee crisis.

New York Cancer surgeon Dr. Dmitri Alden stated that he was concerned about the Ebola outbreak and refugee migrant crisis, as well as other diseases and problems that are not being publicly addressed.

“The world is facing major challenges in health issues and Ebola is just one of them. There are multiple issues related to infection, infection control, resistance to multiple drugs and antibiotics we use to control infection and virus control, as well as issues related to global health problems related to migration.”

The World Health Summit was created to be a guiding voice for how countries around the world should move forward as it relates to addressing important health issues.

Other keynote guests included Cynthia Baur, Senior Advisor/Health Literacy Center for Disease Control in the U.S., Dame Sally Claire Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, and Mark Dybul, Switzerland’s Executive Director for the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

Sources for Today’s Article:
“Syria, Ebola top World Health Summit in Berlin,” CCTV America web site, October 12, 2015; http://www.cctv-america.com/2015/10/12/syria-ebola-top-world-health-summit-in-berlin.
“German health minister opens World Health Summit in Berlin,” Deutsche Welle web site, October 11, 2015; http://www.dw.com/en/german-health-minister-opens-world-health-summit-in-berlin/a-18775916.
“Speakers” World Health Summit web site; http://www.worldhealthsummit.org/the-summit/speakers.html, last accessed October 14, 2015.

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