Competing visions for W.H.O. reforms

Not that member states needed more reasons to urgently consider WHO reforms, but China gave them a fresh impetus just the same, earlier this week. A year after the novel coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China, it appears that the gloves are off.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, expressed his disappointment on Tuesday this week, when scientists who had been en route to China to begin investigations on the origins of SAR-CoV-2, were turned away as a result of alleged delays in internal procedures.

These developments will undoubtedly influence and set the tone on how these reforms discussions will be shaped in the coming months. Countries are keen on working on a resolution related to reforms, to be tabled at the World Health Assembly in May 2021.

But before that, ahead of the Executive Board meeting this month, January 18-26, countries have begun informal consultations on aligning their visions for WHO reforms. More than 20 countries have put forward proposals, or joined others in powering reforms-related discussions at WHO.

From empowering IHR emergency committees to benefit sharing on pathogen samples, there are strong proposals from countries.

Image credit: Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Geneva Health Files had reported earlier on proposals from Germany-France, U.S. Brazil, and others. A number of other groups of countries including the Support Group for Global Infectious Disease Response (G4IDR) that includes South Korea, Singapore, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Kenya, Mexico, and Peru, have also presented proposals for reforms. Chile, also supported by Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay has a proposal under discussion. The Coalition for a Universal Health Protection Architecture which includes Switzerland, Nepal, Oman, Botswana have made suggestions on reforms. It is understood that Japan and Australia have also put forward proposals on reforms. We had briefly flagged India’s views on reforms late last year when it was first published.

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