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April 29, 2015
Ebola Crisis Chagrin Produces 'Lessons Learned'
It’s embarrassing to have to acknowledge deficiencies in responding to a crisis, but far better to show that you’ve learned from the experience than simply to hunker down till next time.  China’s Margaret Chan, General Director of the World Health Organization, shows she understands that need in her statement on how WHO responded to last year’s Ebola crisis.

“We have learned lessons of humility,” Ms. Chan says, “We have seen that old diseases in new contexts consistently spring new surprises.”  Yes, the WHO response “was slow and insufficient, we were not aggressive in alerting the world…we did not work effectively in coordination with other partners, there were shortcomings in risk communications and there was confusion of roles and responsibilities,” her statement adds.

But more to the present point, WHO’s statement lists eight “lessons learned” including in the area of information sharing and communication.

Too often, it’s necessary to learn about effective crisis response in the throes of a crisis. But troubling to distill the experience as a means of doing better “the next time” is admirable atonement.

(Photo: New York Daily News)

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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