Commentaries

Op-Ed by Dr Matshidiso Moeti The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa and its devastating toll on human life were stark reminders of the dangers posed by weak health systems. For the international community, the outbreak highlighted the importance of health security and epidemic-preparedness, and demonstrated just how quickly local disease outbreaks can become global issues.  There is almost universal agreement that the international response to the Ebola outbreak was inadequate – it was…
Early next week, WHO will convene a panel of medical ethicists to explore the use of experimental treatment in the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Currently there is no registered medicine or vaccine against the virus, but there are several experimental options under development. The recent treatment of two health workers from Samaritan’s Purse with experimental medicine has raised questions about whether medicine that has never been tested and shown to be safe in people should be used…
18 September 2014 -- Dr Margaret Chan welcomed the White House announcement of a major ramp-up in support for containing the Ebola outbreak in parts of west Africa. In the hardest-hit countries, the outbreak threatens to push governments to the brink of state failure. She announced a joint WHO/UN initiative to address the crisis, which has unprecedented humanitarian, political, economic, and security dimensions. As she noted, health, medical, and clinical issues remain the heart and soul of…
17 November 2015 Climate change is the defining issue for the 21st century. According to WHO estimates, climate change is already causing tens of thousands of deaths every year - from shifting patterns of disease, from extreme weather events, such as heat-waves and floods, and from the degradation of air quality, food and water supplies, and sanitation. The upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-21) in Paris offers the world an important opportunity to not only reach a strong…
Many people remember the West African outbreak of Ebola, which started at the end of 2013 and was declared over in the middle of 2016. This unprecedented outbreak led to more than 11,000 people losing their lives in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. That outbreak also inflicted US$2.8 billion in economic damages. The governments of these countries and the international community, as well as the UN and WHO, were unable to contain this outbreak rapidly. Few people might recall the Ebola outbreak…
"Now a physician myself, I know that daily sickness and pain is also a reality for a billion people around the world who are affected by neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)." When I was a child living in apartheid South Africa, I saw first-hand the pain and suffering experienced by the patients my parents cared for at their medical clinic. Patients came in and out, looking for treatment to their ailments and afflictions. I learned how constant illness and discomfort was an everyday reality for…