The movement requesting a reform of World Health Organization, WHO, is loud and clear considering the institution’s attempts in dealing with coronavirus pandemic.
Countries all over the globe have been questioning and criticizing WHO’s effectiveness to combat rampaging COVID-19. Besides its considerably late response, WHO is also criticized for being slow and unorganized in handling the pandemic; thus, causing the outbreak to be bigger than the expectation.
Leaders of G7 nations also agreed with the idea to reform the institution. Based on US President Donald Trump’s tweet, WHO’s approach to deal with the disease is notably too China-centric.
Following the criticism, the US even warns that it will cut off funding to WHO, unless it will reform soon. Japan, on the other hand, agrees with the reform, but it will not stop funding the institution.
Criticisms to WHO gets bigger as the institution also promoted the use of traditional Chinese medicine to cure the virus. What’s worsening the situation is that the recommendation has little to no scientific justification.
How to Reform WHO for the Better?
Considering the demand to reform the institution, people should understand first what the organization was, currently is, and will be. To provide better insights, Kelley Lee, research chair in global health governance at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, suggests several things to consider.
Lee, which has studied about the institution since its inception, states that country leaders’ request to WHO is somehow inaccurate. This is so as WHO operates differently from other international institutions such as UNICEF and WTO.
Unlike those organizations, WHO never possesses the authority to act, implement policies, and command countries. Since its very inception, WHO has always acted as a consultant whose authority is only to advise countries to take actions.
Different from WHO, WTO has all the power to regulate things and impose trade sanctions if any country ever acts against the policies. To begin with, WHO never has the power.
For that reason, Lee suggests that WHO should be empowered first. After that, to better regulate the institutions, WHO’s actions should include not only member states, but all elements of communities including the society.
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