The World Health Organization (WHO) has been sharply criticized for its response to coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 200,000 people worldwide. However, some have rushed to come to her defense, saying the United Nations agency has never been equipped or intended to oversee transparency.
While the world is being tormented by the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, should we turn our eyes to the WHO? Tough criticism Criticisms are being leveled at the United States, which, according to Johns Hopkins University, has recorded four times more infections and twice as many casualties as the second place on the list – Spain.
According to Washington, the WHO has been slow in responding to the health emergency, praising China when it was supposed to reprimand it, and cooperating with Beijing in underestimating the scale of the outbreak, thus contributing to its spread. US President Donald Trump has said the WHO “has been focused on China” and that China must face the consequences if it has been “consciously responsible” for the pandemic. Trump has suspended $ 400 million in funding for the WHO.
This has caused the organization to lose its largest financier. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the WHO regulatory body has “clearly failed” to hold member states accountable for their obligations. Pompeo said on April 22 that the WHO has “two main functions”: regulatory and advisory, and to be in charge of “emergency medical operations and humanitarian aid.” Furthermore, Pompeo added, the organization has “clearly failed” to implement the requirements set out in the International Health Regulations, which entered into force in 2007 and require member states to provide the WHO with “timely information.” , accurate and quite detailed for public health ”. WHO, implementing?
WHO advocates say criticism is not fair or factual. In an interview with Radio Free Europe, former US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said the idea that the WHO was “in favor of a swift response” was “a misunderstanding of what it is”. “It’s technical expertise. It collects data from around the world to declare an epidemic or pandemic, “said Power, which served during Barack Obama’s presidency. “So it’s an alarm system, more than a response system,” she said. Lawrence Gostin, director of the Center for Global Health Law at the WHO and a professor at Georgetown University, has defended the organization against Trump’s claims and explained its role.
Gostin said on April 9 that “it is very fair to say that China has not been completely transparent” and that China “has been delayed for several weeks, and possibly another month or more” to report to the WHO the passage of coronavirus from animal to human. But he has said that this is not the fault of the WHO, but of China. According to him, the WHO immediately notified the world’s population. Gostin also denied allegations that the WHO did not immediately declare a state of emergency, saying the suggestion was “actually wrong.” The WHO “has declared a public health emergency very soon after the first cases of COVID-19 were reported,” Gostin said, referring to the January 30 decision taken after thousands of new cases were discovered in China. According to him, people are mistaken in confusing the announcement with the labeling of the explosion as pandemic.
The pandemic was announced on March 12, but in fact “there was no legal significance,” Gostin said. “In fact, the WHO does not have the power to declare a pandemic, it gives its opinion. “What he did was exercise all the powers he had,” Gostin said. Not so powerful? These competencies are probably not very powerful. “The WHO should be more skeptical of what China has said, but it is entirely at the mercy of what governments offer,” Daniel Speigel, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, told the Washington Post. , who served during Bill Clinton’s administration. “It has no intelligence capacity and no investigative power,” he added.
Founded in 1948, after World War II, the WHO aimed to promote global health and protect against infectious diseases, such as cholera and polio. But it has no real independent authority, experts say, and is fully dependent on its 194 member countries and private entities for finance. Gostin compared the WHO’s annual budget to that of a “large American hospital” and said that the amount – which has reached the value of 4.4 billion dollars in the period2018-2019 – “is not at all in line with its global responsibilities.” The world’s largest powers, including China, which, according to Gostin, has given the WHO “only alms”, have little funding for the organization.
Moreover, according to him, the organization is responsible for no more than 25 percent of its budget, because many of the funds are provided provided that they are used for a specific purpose. Gostin has called for WHO funds to be made mandatory by countries, under international law. “If we didn’t have it, we would have to invent it,” Gostin said, referring to the WHO.