Former President Sirleaf Promises Impartiality in WHO’s Independent Review of Global Coronavirus Response

MONROVIA, Montserrado – Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has welcomed her selection by the World Health Organization to co-chair its Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.

WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced last Thursday that Sirleaf and former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clarke had accepted to serve as co-chairs on the panel, which is also known as the WHO’s global evaluation committee.

Ghebreyesus said the two former leaders were selected through a broad informal process with WHO member states and world experts.

“I cannot imagine two more strong-minded, independent leaders to help guide us through this critical learning process, to help us understand what happened – an honest assessment – and to help us also understand what we should do to prevent such a tragedy in the future,” he said.

“So collectively, as a world to say ‘never again’ to such kind of tragedy.”

The WHO also refuted some media reports that the panel’s constitution was linked to the United States of America, saying it was given birth to by the World Health Assembly resolution in May 2020.

The panel will also review the experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including WHO’s Global Response.

The former Liberian leader announced on Twitter that she welcomes her preferment and promises to perform with impartiality and thoroughness, given her experience during the Ebola response while serving as president for Liberia.

“Deeply humbled to be named co-chair of the Independent Panel for @WHO #Pandemic with former #NewZealand PM @HelenClarkNZ,” she wrote.

Featured photo courtesy of European Parliament

Gbatemah Senah

Senah is a graduate of the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. Between 2017 and 2019, he won six excellent reporting awards from the Press Union of Liberia. They include a three-time Land Rights Reporter of the Year, one time Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Human Rights Reporter of the Year.

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