WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today lauded the respected British medical journal, The Lancet, for an editorial on the Ebola outbreak in Africa in which the Lancet holds the World Health Organization’s (W.H.O.) and other global health leaders accountable for an entirely inadequate global response to Ebola. The Lancet editorial, “Ebola: A Failure of International Collective Action” published online August 21, 2014, also rightly recognizes Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) efforts battling the outbreak of Ebola in Africa while also stating that the “…international community must show the collective responsibility and global solidarity absent at the start of this outbreak to bring it to an end. Its failure to do so is allowing a disaster of unprecedented proportions to unfold in west Africa.”
The Lancet editorial also pointed out that, “Although WHO is now leading the international response to the crisis, it was initially slow to act at the high level that was needed. Its concern did not match that of the other major player in this outbreak Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). On June 24, MSF said that the outbreak was ‘out of control’, that its teams had reached the limits of what they could do, and it called for a massive deployment of resources to the region. Only on July 31, did WHO launch its joint response plan…”
“This Lancet editorial is perhaps the most accurate and damning assessment of the failure of global leadership to address — even at the most basis level such as with gloves, gowns, masks, chlorine for disinfectant — the Ebola crisis ravaging Africa,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “This outbreak has been unfolding for far too long without an appropriate response. It is heartening to see the Lancet holding key stakeholders such as WHO accountable while recognizing the tireless and heroic work of MSF.”
Following the July 29th Ebola death of Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan, the physician who had lead Sierra Leone’s response to that country’s outbreak and who served as Medical Officer for AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Sierra Leone Country Program and its free AIDS treatment clinic in the country, AHF criticized the lax global response to the Ebola outbreak. At that time, AHF noted that global and US health leaders had been slow to respond to the situation on the ground in real time. In a news statement, AHF noted that as late as August 1st, the UK’s The Telegraph reported that W.H.O. Director-General Margaret Chan — conveniently overlooking her own organization’s shortcomings — said the response to Ebola has been “woefully inadequate” and as a result, the situation was potentially “catastrophic.”
Separately, in an August 7th New York Times article, Laurie Garrett, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, made disappointing note of the Obama administration’s similarly disengaged approach to Ebola during the week he hosted a summit of African heads of state in Washington. Garrett, “… said in an interview that it [the U.S. summit of African leaders] was a missed opportunity. ‘It seemed to me a huge loss to have so many of the key players of the African continent — all of the heads of states, all of the finance and trade ministers, all in Washington, all available for a conversation — and there was no specific, concerted effort to ask the “what if” question and reach some kind of basic agreement,’ she said.”
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to nearly 320,000 individuals in 34 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare.