issues and experts

Canadian role needed to support calls by global health experts to fix failings in response to Ebola outbreak

November 23, 2015
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A report published today provides hard-hitting analysis of the bungled global response to the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak in West Africa which resulted in more than 11,000 deaths. SFU health sciences professor Kelley Lee is part of an independent panel of leading global health experts convened by the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. The Panel's report, published in The Lancet, recommends 10 major reforms needed to fix existing institutional failings.

Amid widespread and accelerating globalization, the report calls on world leaders to build an effective system of global health governance to deal with future outbreaks that potentially threaten all countries.  The recommendations focus on preventing and responding to major disease outbreaks; the production and sharing of research data, knowledge, and technologies; and fixing the chaotic governance of global health issues.

Lee argues that, as a country at the crossroads of globalization, Canada needs to actively contribute to these efforts.  “Canadians responded generously by donating funds and some courageously traveled to the affected region to work with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) on the ground. However, the previous government’s response to the outbreak was disappointing and potentially counterproductive,” says Lee. “Canada could play a key role in supporting the design and creation of a global health governance system that benefits the entire world.” Lee's research focuses on how Canada, as part of the global health community, can act now to ensure a better response to future global disease outbreaks.

The report is available at: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(15)00946-0/fulltext

Kelley Lee, professor, SFU Faculty of Health Sciences, kelley_lee@sfu.ca