WHO member states convene in Geneva amidst the latest African Ebola outbreak

WHO member states convene in Geneva amidst the latest African Ebola outbreak

Delegates from the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) 194 member states will convene in Geneva today for the annual Health Assembly,

Photo: Reuters/Denis Balibouse

Delegates from the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) 194 member states will convene in Geneva today for the annual Health Assembly, a week-long meeting held to evaluate the current state of global health.

Likely to overshadow the agenda is the recent resurgence of Ebola in Central Africa. The disease represents a significant threat to the politically turbulent region, including a previous outbreak in 2014 which killed over 11,000 people.

Despite new cases being confirmed earlier this week in Mbandaka, a city of 1.5 million in the Democratic Republic of Congo, WHO officials have stated the disease can be contained. Much of their confidence likely comes from a new vaccine which response teams will begin distributing this week.

While the memory of 2014’s outbreak will provoke a comprehensive and swift response, Ebola is elusive and spreads quickly; if the disease takes root in urban centres, a rapid escalation is possible. In such a case, expect the disease to intensify instability across the region, likely serving as a catalyst for further political unrest and economic disparity.