WHO charges independent panel to examine Ebola response

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has appointed a group of outside health experts to investigate the agency’s much-criticized response to the Ebola outbreak.

The independent panel will spend the next two months questioning “all aspects” of the WHO’s efforts to fight Ebola in West Africa, according to a release on Tuesday.

The WHO, a part of United Nations, has faced flak for its missteps while managing the international response to the Ebola outbreak.

The agency’s director, Dr. Margaret Chan, has acknowledged many of the shortcomings, such as politically driven appointees in Africa who were ill-prepared to deal with a major disease outbreak.

Chan is calling for sweeping changes that would boost funding and reorganize the staff, which she said would have enabled the agency to adequately tackle Ebola.

The executive board of the WHO, which includes representation from nearly every country, voted to create the special panel of experts in January. That meeting took place shortly after a highly critical internal document leaked.

The disease has killed nearly 10,000 people in the last year. Global health groups like Doctors Without Borders have said far fewer people would have been infected with a stronger response.

The investigative group will be led by Barbara Stocking, the former head of the charity Oxfam International.

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