[WHA68] IFMSA Statement on Ebola Outbreak

Statement read on May 19th 2015 during the 68th World Health Assembly on Item 16.1: 2014 Ebola virus disease outbreak and follow-up to the Special Session of the Executive Board on Ebola

Honorable Chair,
Distinguished Delegates,

The IFMSA strongly welcomes the reports released by the WHO on the Ebola Outbreak.

IFMSA focus this intervention on the report A68/27 which mentions the creation of a Global health Emergency Workforce. We would like to congratulate the WHO for the work carried out since 136th Executive Board Meeting as it aligned with several of the concerns we raised during that session.

However, before the creation of such a mechanism, the WHO must ensure the deployment of this Emergency Workforce based on transparent and scientific mechanisms supported by concrete guidelines on when, who and how.

WHO should also raise the question, if it can be deployed not only for situations related with communicable diseases?

We highlight the need for clear and transparent financing mechanisms and interactions of the global workforce both globally and locally. It will be imperative to identify how this will support the  local organizations, the first responders in the communities.

It is also fundamental to underline how this emergency workforce will be integrated with the International Health Regulations and with the previous WHA resolutions on the field of Human Resources for Health, in order to avoid the duplication of efforts and waste of resources. The integration of this strategy in the Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health would be important to ensure the success of this emergency workforce.

We recall the importance of tackling the most basic social determinants of health and invest in health literacy to proactively prevent outbreak, and not only react.
We thank WHO for the recognition of the role of youth on the tackling of crisis, majorly as part of first responders. IFMSA established this commitment long time ago and will continue to remain active. The Kick Ebola Out Campaign organized by our members from Sierra Leone and Guinea is one of the best examples on how medical students can engage the public through health education and sensitization programs and support this Emergency Workforce.

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