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News Tip: Outbreaks Like Ebola a Matter of National Security, Says Expert Panel

A team of 20 international experts has reviewed the World Health Organization’s handling of the 2014 Ebola outbreak and found it lacking. The Independent Panel on the Global Response to Ebola, convened by Harvard University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, will issue its report in The Lancet on Monday, Nov. 23.

• Quotes: "We issued what may well be the strongest rebuke to the World Health Organization on its handling of the 2014 Ebola outbreak of any group to date," says Duke Global Health Institute visiting scholar and former Nigerian Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammad Pate, who co-chaired the panel. "There was a frightening lack of local public health systems and infrastructure and a breathtaking absence of leadership on the part of the world body when it came to an effective response to the Ebola crisis. Our panel suggests critically needed reforms."

"Given the propensity of major disease outbreaks to disrupt nearly every aspect of civil society as we witnessed with Ebola, we recommend that a Global Health Committee comprised of member state representatives be established within the United Nations Security Council."

Bio:Dr. Muhammad Pate is the former minister of state for health of Nigeria and a visiting scholar at the Duke Global Health Institute. He is largely credited with the eradication of polio in Nigeria. Knowledge gained in that effort was credited with the successful control of Ebola in Nigeria in 2014, Africa’s most populous country. Pate is a physician board-certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases in the U.S. and a former World Bank official. 

Pate is available to discuss the key findings of the panel’s report, “Lessons from the Ebola catastrophe: A strategic way forward,” which includes 10 recommendations on preventing disease outbreaks, responding to disease outbreaks, bolstering research and governance.

Muhammad Pate bio.

• News release: PDF available by request

• Report: