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Role of the WHO is under the scanner

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Writer is a post graduate in Economics from Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi. Currently working in private sector as a data analyst.

WHO is an international body which is responsible for coordination and cooperation among its members through ministry of health and other bodies to deal with global health challenges. Unlike COVID-19 other recent pandemics didn’t come with this much catastrophe. Global economy is standstill right now. Nations are bound to use only savings for their consumption purpose. EDCs are facing dramatic problem as their supply chain got a knee jerk. Fear of death from starvation is a something that worrying most to their leader. Pakistan’s premier is leading the drum on that front which seems understandable. Now every country is facing an acute dilemma to chooses between Scylla and Charybdis.

Even though China and South Korea have been able to provide a way to deal with current dilemma, it is a something which is not feasible in every geographical boundary. So how should we respond to the situation at national level? Developing world is continuously iterating, they are not capable of handling the situation in case of any sudden broke out. These are the countries looking for some guidance from international community. This brings us down into important roles and responsibilities that institutions like WHO can play. Not surprisingly, WHO is the latest victim of Trump administration. USA stopped funding to the WHO while questioning its credibility and role in dealing with contagion Corona. We can trifurcate the whole story into initial response of China, followed by WHO and USA.

Giving the WHO’s role, responsibility and its functioning style, it is obligated to get a single information from its signatories even if single case of epidemics has come into the notice like India does in Nipah virus eruption. Indirectly, China should inform the WHO way earlier than Jan 2020. Instead of this, China tried to hide the case and any reports related to the same. These actions are the part of Chinese foreign policy which staunchly support the opacity and selective revelation of reports. Initial subjugation of a doctor in Wuhan city by its state machinery is enough to argue it. This short-sightedness of communist state resulted in the unparallel human and economic loss.

Clearly, China didn’t make it public and seek for any help from international community as it doesn’t want to show itself a weak country. Somehow, China is responsible for its irresponsible behaviour and world has right to ask for its accountability once we will be back on the track.n responsibility came into the WHO. Did it handle the case in a proper manner? Answer is a big no! Since the inception of COVID-19, it was behaving like an amused creature. There were lack of clear strategies, guidelines and credible information. Questions related to range of contagious zone of an infected person, mask protocol, causation between temperature and virus, global supply chain of PPEs, masks and kits will be ask. Unavailability of prompt responses for these questions and simultanously availability of social media platforms provided a perfect environment where false news and claims can float. It is very natural to expect certain help and guidelines from a institutions like world health organization.

Then defiance of Trump administration to the joint report of China and WHO is the result of its distrust on both. WHO has not been performing up to its potential. Countries like Indonesia and India has been continuously battling for proper flow of research outcomes and information in case of contagious diseases. Sadly, it could not contribute more on the same. So, questioning efficiency and efficacy of WHO is not a new. The route shown by China to deal with ongoing menace seems only path to WHO so it was continuously praising China. This inherent bias towards China would be questioned. WHO should have taken everyone on the same table before giving thumps up to a nation’s strategy. Given the prevalence of COVID-19, accountability and transparency of the WHO must be ensured. Credibility of WHO’s premier is also in the quarantine as he is allegedly responsible for hiding Cholera eruption in Ethiopia thrice while he was a then health minister.

Last resort is the role of USA itself in handling the epidemic. It is reporting more than 0.6 millions of active cases as of now. So, what were the blunders that USA itself made? Its reactive response to the virus, stubborn nature of president, over confidence on its health infrastructure and underestimating virus all played an important role to the current situation. Emergence of epicentre in the western world is saying something extra that is “accessibility and affordability of good health facilities which are primarily facilitated through health insurance do not guarantee health for all at a mass level“.

Downplaying its opponents has been the perpetuating strategy of Trump administration since it came into the White House office. This applies to all other its western ally from Britain to some of the the Europian union countries. In conclusion, USA itself is majorly responsible for its condition. Having said that other responsible bodies can not get a green signal.

Despite all these happenings, US should not be jumping on the gun by blocking WHO’s funding. It will only create a havoc where international healthy community will be working without any leaders. As a result, fear of death will be growing across the poor world. All these measures should be come once fear of virus passed on. Then why WHO only? World seeks structural transformation in every global institutions like UN, UNSC, and WTO.

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Writer is a post graduate in Economics from Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi. Currently working in private sector as a data analyst.
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