'WHO delay in ebola alert cost lives'
Published 23/11/2015 | 02:30
The ebola crisis claimed lives needlessly because the World Health Organisation was scared to sound the alarm after being criticised for causing panic during the 2009 Swine Flu pandemic, health experts have claimed.
An independent panel of 19 specialists, including scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has called for sweeping reforms to prevent a repeat of the catastrophe, which killed more than 11,000 people.
Their main criticism was of the WHO's failure to respond quickly when the disease first emerged in Guinea.
Internal memos showed that the WHO was reluctant to declare a public health emergency because it did not want to upset African dictators and feared it would be criticised if the outbreak turned out to be mild, like the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.