Debate | International Responses to Global Epidemics: Ebola and Beyond

Monica Rull, from Doctors without Borders, and Ilona Kickbusch, from the Graduate Institute’s Global Health Programme, analyse  current and past responses to global epidemics, suggesting concrete ways to improve them.


The initial paper provides an in-depth and lucid examination of the collective failure to respond in a timely and efficient manner to global epidemics. Starting from the recent Ebola crisis in West Africa, the piece pinpoints a number of weaknesses in the international system in terms of the identification of, and response to, global epidemics and suggests ways to improve it.
Rull’s assessment is followed by a critical comment from Ilona Kickbusch, who focuses on the importance of the International Health Regulations to establish an efficient system of global health security that can really make a difference in saving lives.

Initial Contribution by 
Monica Rull – The Ebola Wake-Up Call: The System’s Failings in Responding to Outbreaks

Monica Rull is a medical doctor and health advisor to the Director of Operations of MSF Switzerland, where she contributes to the analysis of practice in the field and is responsible for developing advocacy objectives for various thematic projects including response to epidemics and immunisation. She holds a Master’s degree in tropical diseases and international health, and an international diploma in humanitarian assistance. She has worked for MSF in Africa during a number of medical emergencies and crises, and at MSF Switzerland’s headquarters as Program Manager.

Comments by Ilona Kickbusch – Ebola 2014/15—Why the International Health Regulations Are Critical

Ilona Kickbusch is Director of the Global Health Programme at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. Since 2008, she advises organisations, government agencies and the private sector on policies and strategies to promote health at the national, European and international level. Before joining the Graduate Institute, she was a consultant for the Swiss Confederation, the Pan American Health Organization and was Professor and Head of the Global Health Division at the Yale University’s School of Medicine. Prior to that, she worked at the World Health Organization in various key roles for nearly two decades. Dr. Ilona Kickbusch holds a PhD from the University of Konstanz, Germany.

Download the whole debate (pdf)

Further comments will follow in the coming weeks. We invite the initial authors and any interested readers to share their comments and views.




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