WHO EB136: Statement on Ebola Outbreak

Statement submitted to the World Health Organization (WHO) 136th Executive Board Meeting.

IFMSA is currently represented at WHO EB136 by a delegation of 4 members: Pedro Miranda (LO-WHO), Agostinho Sousa (President), Claudel P-Desrosiers (VPE) and Ivan Seah (General Delegate).

Agenda Item 9.4 – Ebola Outbreak

Honorable Chair,
Honorable Madame Chair,
Distinguished Delegates,

The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations strongly welcomes and fully supports the adoption of the resolution on the Ebola outbreak. IFMSA represents a global network of medical students in 116 countries.

IFMSA regrets the deaths and injuries caused by this disease. This outbreak showed us the importance of investing in health and in the socio-economic determinants of health. It was fortunately seen as an eye opener to the need of countries to strengthen their health systems and their public health policies in times of large-scale outbreaks. We acknowledge that we should have been better prepared to face this epidemic, and we strongly support this resolution.

IFMSA calls WHO to:

  • Reaffirm its engagement to act on the social determinants of health – the underlying causes of diseases – in ensuring the right to health for all;
  • Encourage the international community to continue assisting the affected countries: this will include, but is not limited to donating protective gear, medicines and contributing to research and development of vaccines;
  • Work closely with the member states to strengthen their health systems in order to be better prepared for public health threats such as Ebola in the future;
  • As stated by Liberia, ensure inclusion of Ebola survivors and orphans on its priorities, providing them adequate social support.

We are pleased that this outbreak is serving as a learning opportunity. With in mind the importance of the implementation of the International Health Regulations, we encourage Member states to work towards health systems strengthening; increased disaster preparedness and response; and an adapted and up-to- date education and training of healthcare students to face similar challenges. This will only help us saving thousands of lives.

IFMSA has witnessed an incredible sense of leadership and of unity within our network since the outbreak started. Through the Kick Ebola Out Campaign led by students from Sierra Leone and Guinea, our members have been engaging the public through health education and sensitisation programs. We welcome those efforts with gratitude. We conclude with stating that IFMSA commits to continue providing our members with capacity-building opportunities so they can grow as doctors who will shape a sustainable and healthy future.

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