Experts evaluate WHO Ebola response
GloPID-R members believe it is important to think, plan and invest in research and innovation before a health crisis occurs. The Ebola outbreak has shown the importance of research and innovation at the outset of an epidemic to develop essential diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics.
Ebola also galvanized the international public health community to analyze and provide recommendations on responding to future infectious disease outbreaks. The evaluation resulted in the Report of the Ebola Interim Assessment Panel published July 2015 on the WHO website.
Collaboration on a global level is critical in mounting a rapid and effective response to fighting global epidemics and the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R) initiative was created with this goal in mind. The report corroborates the need for stronger coordination with the wider health and humanitarian systems.
With the research funders and researchers united in the fight against epidemics, it is important to have a readiness plan in place for the next health crisis that strikes. The report also recommends developing an intermediary system that would alert the wider international community at an earlier stage of a health crisis. Knowing that quick action is critical, GloPID-R will spark a collaborative global research response within 48 hours, at the outset of an epidemic of pandemic potential.
It is well understood that the WHO leads the United Nations’ Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Global Health Cluster in major humanitarian crises. It is less clear, however, the resources and research projects that many research funding organizations worldwide have already implemented. GloPID-R is mapping the existing research networks in the Northern and Southern hemispheres and their infectious disease programs so that, in the event of an outbreak, these resources will be well-coordinated and primed to react in their area of research. This initiative is the only one of its kind to bring together research funders and coordinate their response to epidemics at a global level.
Since the report’s release, the WHO has developed a formal written response and a web page on the progress with the Ebola response, including an interactive Ebola dashboard, a flyer “Taking Action from Response to Recovery” and the WHO strategic response plan 2015.