President Obama appoints former White House adviser Ebola ''czar''

news
18 October 2014

President Barack Obama appointed a former White House adviser as Ebola "czar" yesterday and named officials to bolster the response to the disease in Texas, the state at the centre of US Ebola cases, as the death toll in three West African nations surged past 4,500, Reuters reported.

The White House appointment of lawyer Ron Klain came as the Obama administration came under flak from some lawmakers over its efforts to contain the haemorrhagic virus and as widening Ebola fears kept a US cruise ship out of a Mexican port.

Obama appointed Ron Klain, a lawyer who had served as chief of staff to vice presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, to oversee the US Ebola response.

According to the White House it would also send senior personnel to Dallas to help federal, state and local officials there trying to identify and monitor people who came in contact with three people who caught the disease.

The three persons are Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with the disease in the US, and two nurses who were on the team of health workers caring for Duncan until his death last week.

According to a statement by the White House, Obama met with health and national security aides and "underscored that the domestic response to Ebola cases must be seamless at all level''.

Meanwhile, The World Health Organization (WHO), has been accused of having bungled efforts to halt the spread of Ebola in West Africa, an internal US report revealed yesterday, AP reported.

The stepped up scrutiny of the international response came as US officials tracking and making attempt to block potential routes of infection from three cases in Texas, reached a cruise ship in the Caribbean and multiple domestic airline flights.

According to the WHO draft report, the agency designated as the international community's leader in coordinating response to outbreaks of disease had committed serious errors in tackling the crisis.

According to the document, a timeline of the outbreak, WHO missed chances to prevent Ebola from spreading soon after it was first diagnosed in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea last spring.

Among the factors it blamed are incompetent staff and a lack of information. Also its own experts failed to grasp that traditional infectious disease containment methods would not work in a region with porous borders and broken health systems.





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