A Global Perspective on Ebola Outbreak and Implications for Response to Future Events

Saturday, 14 February 2015: 8:30 AM-11:30 AM
Room 220B (San Jose Convention Center)
Keiji Fukuda, World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa, similar to other notable events such as the 1918 influenza pandemic, HIV, SARS, the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and ongoing threats such as H5N1, H7N9 and MERS, has had major adverse effects on the well-being of countries. It has also highlighted both old lessons while creating new perspectives and shifts in understanding. Such lessons are painfully learned and if they are not to be wasted, then they must result in improvements to global and national approaches to emerging diseases and outbreaks. The most fundamental lesson of the current Ebola outbreak is that the world remains insufficiently prepared to address such events despite a global strategy. In the current paradigm, individual countries, the global community, sectors and organizations assume critical roles and functions. It also depends on the effective application of certain global agreements, most notably the International Health Regulations. While the essential approach is sound, the Ebola outbreak has underscored critical ongoing vulnerabilities which must be addressed to ensure sufficiently robust responses to future major challenges.