The international community must fulfil their pledges

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The international community must fulfil their pledges and support the establishment of a mechanism that allows for rapid disbursement. As of 31 December 2015, only one third of the pledges was disbursed, and a substantial part of the disbursement came in October when the pandemic had already devastated lives and livelihoods. The slow pace of converting pledges to commitment calls for immediate correction. Fulfilling the pledges is vital to ending the pandemic and accelerating early recovery. The international community should establish a mechanism that would allow rapid disbursement of funds during public health threats like Ebola. To ensure sustainability, ownership and capacity strengthening, the international organizations should work with governments to mobilize resources for the recovery process. The global community is ill-prepared for a devastating pandemic like Ebola, and the next outbreak should not take the world by surprise. An important lesson emerging from the pandemic is that the global community is not ready to address virulent pandemics like Ebola. The global health governance structures are inadequate, the international commitment to bolster pandemic preparedness and response capacity in poor countries is tardy, and the global support for strengthening health systems is still weak. This, therefore, points to the urgent need to reform the global health management system in order that it will be able to cope with such pandemics when they occur. Current partnerships with research institutions and pharmaceutical companies should be translated into strategic actions that will lead to the invention of the requisite vaccine for the disease within a very short time. The strategic engagement of the UN System on the EVD response has enhanced its relevance in the region, and UN agencies still have a major role to play in overcoming the outbreak. While most partners withdrew at the peak of the crisis, UN agencies not only remained, but also increased their presence in the epicentre countries and the corridor countries (Senegal and Ghana). This helps mobilize partnerships and action as well as resources for the Ebola response. Consequently, the UN System became a trusted partner in the region. Its available resources have been reprogrammed for Ebola containment and the associated early recovery efforts. Working with national and regional institutions to strengthen coordination mechanisms further aided the response actions in the region. The United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for the region should be concerned with strengthening the health services’ capacity to cope with future epidemics without compromising the fight against other priority diseases, and ensuring the provision of quality care.
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  • Fall '19
  • West Africa

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