- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 4, 2014

Budget cuts at the World Health Organization have hampered its ability to respond to the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, according to a report.

The New York Times reports that aid workers thought the U.N.’s main health arm would be in the best position to flood the region with resources.

Not so, it turns out.

“I wish I could do that,” WHO director general Margaret Chan told the president of Doctors Without Borders when they met in Geneva this summer, months after the outbreak took hold, the newspaper reports.

The agency simply did not have the staffing and ability to marshal a tide of resources, particularly after the global financial crisis in recent years. The weak and underfunded nature of the affected countries hampered the effort as well, the Times reports.

Agency directors told the Times they could have identified the severity of the outbreak sooner, and they are doing what they can with government partners.

“It is incumbent on the international community to really respond now,” Francis C. Kasolo, a WHO director in Africa, told the Times. “Otherwise history will judge us badly.”