Emails: UN Health Agency Resisted Declaring Ebola Emergency

March 20, 2015

(Medical Xpress) – In a delay that some say may have cost lives, the World Health Organization resisted calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a public health emergency until last summer, two months after staff raised the possibility and long after a senior manager called for a drastic change in strategy, The Associated Press has learned. Among the reasons the United Nations agency cited in internal deliberations: worries that declaring such an emergency—akin to an international SOS —could anger the African countries involved, hurt their economies or interfere with the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.