Emails show UN health agency resisted declaring Ebola emergency on economic, political grounds

March 20, 2015 10:52 PM

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Emails show UN health agency resisted declaring Ebola emergency on economic, political grounds

GENEVA — In a delay that some say may have cost lives, the World Health Organization resisted calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a public health emergency until last summer, two months after staff raised the possibility and long after a senior manager called for a drastic change in strategy, The Associated Press has learned.

Among the reasons the United Nations agency cited in internal deliberations: worries that declaring such an emergency — akin to an international SOS — could anger the African countries involved, hurt their economies or interfere with the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.

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