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World Health Organization: Is history repeating itself?

Bunk

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Candidate to Lead the W.H.O. Accused of Covering Up Epidemics

NY Times May 13, 2017


Interesting how history repeats itself. Here are some excerpts from the attached 2017 NY Times article when 3 people were campaigning to become WHO director genera that also reminds us that China covered up SARS:


A leading candidate to head the World Health Organization was accused this week of covering up three cholera epidemics in his home country, Ethiopia, when he was health minister — a charge that could seriously undermine his campaign to run the agency.

The accusation against Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was made by a prominent global health expert who is also an informal adviser to Dr. David Nabarro, a rival candidate in the race for W.H.O. director general.

… Lawrence O. Gostin, the director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, called attention to Ethiopia’s long history of denying cholera outbreaks even as aid agencies scramble to contain them. Some of those outbreaks occurred on Dr. Tedros’s watch.

Mr. Gostin said he … believed the W.H.O. “might lose its legitimacy” if it is run by a representative of a country that itself covers up epidemics.

“Dr. Tedros is a compassionate and highly competent public health official,” he said. “But he had a duty to speak truth to power and to honestly identify and report verified cholera outbreaks over an extended period.”


In an interview, Dr. Tedros, who was Ethiopia’s health minister from 2005 to 2012 and remains highly regarded for his accomplishments then, denied covering up cholera.

W.H.O. officials have complained privately that Ethiopian officials are not telling the truth about these outbreaks. Testing for Vibrio cholerae bacteria, which cause cholera, is simple and takes less than two days.

During earlier outbreaks, various news organizations, including The Guardian and The Washington Post, reported that unnamed Ethiopian officials were pressuring aid agencies to avoid using the word “cholera” and not to report the number of people affected.

United Nations officials said more aid could have been delivered to Ethiopia had the truth been told.

Under the International Health Regulations, which apply to all W.H.O. members, countries must accurately report disease outbreaks. But the W.H.O. can officially report only what countries say. Historically, some countries have tried to cover up or play down outbreaks of human or animal diseases for fear that travel restrictions would be imposed, tourism would suffer or food exports would be curtailed — or simply as a matter of national pride.

The regulations were strengthened after China denied for months in 2003 that it had a serious outbreak of lethal respiratory disease in its southern cities. That outbreak ultimately became known as SARS, for severe acute respiratory syndrome, and spread to several other countries, including Canada.


Dr. Margaret Chan, the current W.H.O. director general, is from China, but was never accused of participating in China’s cover-up. She was the director of health in Hong Kong at the time and led effective responses to both avian flu and SARS.

China has since changed its policy and now is often praised for acknowledging outbreaks promptly, fighting them aggressively and cooperating with other health agencies.

Dr. Tedros, who has the backing of the African Union and has been praised by international aid officials and former President George W. Bush, is widely respected for his stint as Ethiopia’s health minister.
 

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Brett

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Candidate to Lead the W.H.O. Accused of Covering Up Epidemics

NY Times May 13, 2017


Interesting how history repeats itself. Here are some excerpts from the attached 2017 NY Times article when 3 people were campaigning to become WHO director genera that also reminds us that China covered up SARS:


A leading candidate to head the World Health Organization was accused this week of covering up three cholera epidemics in his home country, Ethiopia, when he was health minister — a charge that could seriously undermine his campaign to run the agency.

The accusation against Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was made by a prominent global health expert who is also an informal adviser to Dr. David Nabarro, a rival candidate in the race for W.H.O. director general.

… Lawrence O. Gostin, the director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, called attention to Ethiopia’s long history of denying cholera outbreaks even as aid agencies scramble to contain them. Some of those outbreaks occurred on Dr. Tedros’s watch.

Mr. Gostin said he … believed the W.H.O. “might lose its legitimacy” if it is run by a representative of a country that itself covers up epidemics.

“Dr. Tedros is a compassionate and highly competent public health official,” he said. “But he had a duty to speak truth to power and to honestly identify and report verified cholera outbreaks over an extended period.”


In an interview, Dr. Tedros, who was Ethiopia’s health minister from 2005 to 2012 and remains highly regarded for his accomplishments then, denied covering up cholera.

W.H.O. officials have complained privately that Ethiopian officials are not telling the truth about these outbreaks. Testing for Vibrio cholerae bacteria, which cause cholera, is simple and takes less than two days.

During earlier outbreaks, various news organizations, including The Guardian and The Washington Post, reported that unnamed Ethiopian officials were pressuring aid agencies to avoid using the word “cholera” and not to report the number of people affected.

United Nations officials said more aid could have been delivered to Ethiopia had the truth been told.

Under the International Health Regulations, which apply to all W.H.O. members, countries must accurately report disease outbreaks. But the W.H.O. can officially report only what countries say. Historically, some countries have tried to cover up or play down outbreaks of human or animal diseases for fear that travel restrictions would be imposed, tourism would suffer or food exports would be curtailed — or simply as a matter of national pride.

The regulations were strengthened after China denied for months in 2003 that it had a serious outbreak of lethal respiratory disease in its southern cities. That outbreak ultimately became known as SARS, for severe acute respiratory syndrome, and spread to several other countries, including Canada.


Dr. Margaret Chan, the current W.H.O. director general, is from China, but was never accused of participating in China’s cover-up. She was the director of health in Hong Kong at the time and led effective responses to both avian flu and SARS.

China has since changed its policy and now is often praised for acknowledging outbreaks promptly, fighting them aggressively and cooperating with other health agencies.

Dr. Tedros, who has the backing of the African Union and has been praised by international aid officials and former President George W. Bush, is widely respected for his stint as Ethiopia’s health minister.


well there 'ya go ...

if there was only some organization that would warn us about these pandemics

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/16/health/WHO-Trump-coronavirus.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

"a close look at the record shows that the W.H.O. acted with greater foresight and speed than many national governments, and more than it had shown in previous epidemics. And while it made mistakes, there is little evidence that the W.H.O. is responsible for the disasters that have unfolded in Europe and then the United States. "
 
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