KRUEN, Germany (Reuters) - Leaders of the Group of Seven industrial nations pledged on Monday to wipe out Ebola but offered little in terms of concrete action, disappointing non-governmental organizations.
G7 leaders said in a communique at the end of a two-day summit in the Bavarian Alps that they would offer help to at least 60 nations, including in West Africa, over the next five years to help prevent outbreaks from turning into epidemics.
More than 11,000 people have died in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa since the first reported case in March 2014. The G7 said the crisis showed it was necessary to enhance the world’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to such emergencies.
The G7 nations said they would work together to combat future epidemics and boost or establish strategies to quickly deploy teams of experts with a variety of skills via a common platform, but their communique was thin on detail.
Florian Westphal, General Director of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Germany, said the leaders had done little to ensure epidemics would not spiral out of control in future.
“No concrete measures have been decided to strengthen emergency response, meaning the world is no better prepared to face major health crises and save thousands of lives,” he said.
Charity Oxfam was also disappointed, saying fighting pandemics like Ebola required “more than simply putting the emergency services on standby”.
The G7 countries said they would put money into preventing and controlling neglected tropical diseases to meet a goal of eliminating them by 2020, and committed to supporting research.
Antibiotic resistance, which can be caused by misuse and overuse, is a growing and deadly problem. Doctors and health experts have warned for decades that rising rates of resistant bacteria are leading to tens of thousands of deaths, threatening to nullify modern medical advancements.
The G7 leaders said they would promote “prudent use” of antibiotics and committed to researching issues including the development of new antibiotics, alternative therapies and vaccines.
Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Janet Lawrence