After the shock of Ebola comes inevitable blame and recrimination. This weekend questions are being asked about who is to blame for a collective failure to recognise and respond to what was, and remains, West Africa’s tragedy.
At the centre of the growing outrage is the World Health Organisation (WHO) which, as the UN’s health agency, is charged with “providing leadership” world health matters.
Aid agencies, such as Oxfam yesterday, are warning that Ebola will become the “disaster of our time”. It is being compared with the HIV/Aids epidemic, having already accounted for more than 4,500 confirmed deaths, with the true mortality toll estimated by some at more than 12,000.
The voices of concern were not always so strong. In April, the health charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned that the outbreak, which had emerged a month before, was unprecedented. Geneva-based WHO, which had declared a global pandemic of swine flu in 2009 that, in fact, caused fewer deaths than seasonal flu, denied this, saying that there were only sporadic cases within a limited geographical area.[ independent.co.uk ]