By Mike McEvoy
The World Health Organization (www.who.org) continues on a downward spiral following their botched handling of the H1N1 outbreak. Most recently accused of mishandling the west African Ebola crisis, WHO convened a panel of six international health experts who, on July 7th (2015), released a damning report citing delays and missteps that worsened the Ebola epidemic. In a Lancet article published on-line July 10th, the journal reports that experts wonder if the WHO is capable of changing what is inherently a, “flawed structure.” One thing is quite certain: a full and transparent review of epidemic intelligence failures is desperately needed and most likely, we cannot continue to expect the same organization that forecasts and warns governments and the public about public health outbreaks to also be the response organization. The WHO has quite clearly demonstrated the conflicts, lack of transparency and loss of accountability that result when a single organization serves as both the warning and response entity.
MIKE McEVOY is the EMS coordinator for Saratoga County, New York, and the EMS editor for Fire Engineering magazine. He is a nurse clinician in the cardiac surgical ICU at Albany Medical Center, where he also chairs the resuscitation committee and teaches critical care courses. He is the chief medical officer and a paramedic/firefighter for West Crescent Fire Department and a paramedic supervisor for the Clifton Park & Halfmoon Ambulance. He serves on the EMS Section board of directors of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and speaks at nursing, critical care, fire, and EMS conferences worldwide.