Via Bloomberg.com: Ebola Fight Needs $430 Million to End Outbreak, WHO Says. Excerpt:
More than $430 million will be needed to bring the worst Ebola outbreak on record under control, according to a draft document laying out the World Health Organization’s battle strategy.
The plan sets a goal of reversing the trend in new cases within two months, and stopping all transmission in six to nine months. It requires funding by governments, development banks, the private sector and in-kind contributions, according to the document obtained by Bloomberg News.
Protecting Against Ebola
The current outbreak, which has killed 1,427 people in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, may soon exceed all previous Ebola outbreaks combined. The sum now being sought is six times more than the $71 million the WHO suggested was needed in a plan published less than a month ago.
There is reason to be concerned “about whether the proposed resources would be adequate,” said Barry Bloom, a public health professor at Harvard University who also questioned whether the funds would be made available fast enough, and whether the organization’s latest plan “would ensure the expertise from WHO that is needed.”
The WHO plans to publish the plan by the end of this week at the earliest and details may change, said Fadela Chaib, a spokeswoman for the Geneva-based agency. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon this month appointed health crisis expert David Nabarro to coordinate the UN response.
The European Commission and aid groups including Doctors Without Borders have criticized the WHO for a lack of leadership in coordinating the fight against the outbreak.
“Clearly WHO didn’t foresee this outbreak and while the Ebola crisis was clear in March, it didn’t act until August to declare an emergency,” Bloom said in an e-mail.
J. Stephen Morrison, director of the global health policy center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, had a different view. The scale of the disease’s devastation goes far beyond what health officials had seen previously, he said in a telephone interview.
It’s not “a question of incompetence or complacency,” according to Morrison, who said the WHO should be able to raise the money needed. “It’s the fact we’re catching up with the unknown, and it’s way ahead of us.”
More than half the cost will be needed for the treatment, isolation and referral centers that are bearing the brunt of the epidemic, according to the WHO plan. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are among the world’s poorest countries, and weak health systems combined with a lack of experienced health-care workers has contributed to the epidemic, the WHO has said.
“The response at the beginning wasn’t robust enough,” David Heymann, a professor of infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who worked on the first recorded Ebola outbreak in 1976. “It’s a step forward that they’ve made the plans and I’m glad they’re emphasizing rapid containment as a start.”