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The Reaction to the Ebola Epidemic within the United Nations Framework: What Next for the World Health Organization?

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The World Health Organization (who) was established in 1946 as a specialized agency of the United Nations (un). Since its establishment, the who has managed outbreaks of infectious diseases from a regulatory, as well as an operational perspective. The adoption of the International Health Regulations (ihrs) has been an important achievement from the former perspective. When the Ebola epidemic intensified in 2014, the who Director General issued temporary recommendations under the ihrs in order to reduce the spread of the disease and minimize cross-border barriers to international trade. The un Secretary General and then the Security Council and the General Assembly have also taken action against the Ebola epidemic. In particular, the Security Council adopted a resolution under Chapter vii of the un Charter, and thus connected the maintenance of the international peace and security to the health and social emergency. After dealing with the role of the who as a guide and coordinator of the reaction to epidemics, this article shows how the action by the Security Council against the Ebola epidemic impacts on the who ‘authority’ for the protection of health.


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