UN sets up global health emergency response panel


President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Chairman of the newly appointed panel on Global Response to Health Crises

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has set up a fact finding panel of world leaders to research and make recommendations on how governments can steadfastly respond to global health emergencies.

The Global Response to Health Crises will be chaired by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, the State House said on Tuesday. Ban Ki-Moon says the world has great confidence in the team.

The panel comprising of high- profile world leaders, has been charged with finding out ways how the world can better respond to epidemics such as Ebola, in the future and make practical recommendations to the UN, the UN media communiqué reads.

Due to feeble local health systems and easy mobility of people across the region, the Ebola virus has spread quickly and across a large territory. West Africa faced the largest and most complex Ebola epidemic on record. The outbreak primarily affected three countries: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

In fact, the current epidemic sweeping across the region has now killed five times more people than all other known Ebola outbreaks combined.

Speaking to delegates at the UN headquarters in New York, Moon said the panel was selected last month following a long list of nominations from international institutions, including the UN.

“Thank you so much for accepting my nomination. The world has great confidence in your ability in enabling us all to cope with more confidence and epidemics in the future,” Ban Ki Moon told panel members

“We can say that this appointment has been made to include global institutions – the UN, the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO). Surely this shows how much the world has the ability to trust you in this task.” Moon added

The panel is expected to submit its report in December this year.

President Kikwete Panel includes Celso Amorim (Brazil), Micheline Calmy-Rey (Switzerland), Marty Natalegwa (Indonesia), Joy Phumaphi (Botswana) and Rajiv Shah (USA).

President Kikwete thanked Moon for the trust and confidence in the panel and assured the UN boss and the world the leaders will do their best to make concrete proposals on how to better respond in future health crises thereby minimizing the impact on the population.