World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus responded to recent editorials calling for the return of US Center for Disease Control (CDC) personnel to the frontline of the most recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by saying: “[We] can mobilise from other parts, from those institutions who don’t have very strict security provisions. We can cover it.” Well, can they cover it? The CDC, twice as large as the WHO, has pulled its staff out of the DRC due to concerns over their safety. The WHO has great enabling authority to legitimise and oversee response efforts, but they rely on external support from countries and organisations with epidemic response expertise and human and financial resources.

The CDC continues to provide support in the areas of data and analysis, but Ebola response director for the International Rescue Committee Stacey Mearns told Associated Press that the absence of CDC experts can be felt acutely, ...

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