Andrew Stephenson – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Andrew Stephenson on 2015-09-17.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to offer support to the World Health Organisation to ensure that it is transparent, accountable and better able to respond to emergencies such as the ebola crisis.

Jane Ellison

We are working with other relevant Departments across Government, and as members of the World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board to drive the reform process. We want to ensure that WHO focuses on what it can do best and is better equipped to address the increasingly complex challenges of the 21st Century.

In response to the Ebola crisis, we have committed up to $10million to the WHO Contingency Fund, to help finance the rapid scaling up of the WHO’s initial response to outbreaks and emergencies with health consequences. We are supporting the establishment of the Global Health Emergency Workforce and are developing plans to establish a United Kingdom rapid response team that would complement this mechanism. Linked to this we are working with WHO to ensure the establishment of a new emergency response platform which will unite and direct all WHO outbreak and emergency response operations within its mandate.

We are also contributing to the member state driven governance reform process, to support ambitious reform of these aspects; including the establishment of a clear and accountable leadership across all levels of the organisation. As members of the Programme Budget and Administration Committee, we are pressing WHO to improve aspects of compliance controls, transparency and delivery of results.