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When you're dealing with new and emerging diseases, you have no idea and you can't predict in advance what would happen - Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization 2006–17

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How WHO Lost Its Way

Some change inevitably will come to the World Health Organization (WHO) after its deadly failures during the Covid-19 pandemic. But real reform will require more than technocratic tweaks, and member states should focus on fundamental questions about the agency’s purpose.

In 1948 the first World Health Assembly declared WHO’s mission as “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.” Despite the lofty rhetoric, donor countries initially envisioned a more limited role for WHO, which focused on controlling and preventing the spread of epidemic disease. It made sense for a global body to coordinate the response to germs that don’t recognize borders. Working through…

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Last Updated : Saturday, August 15, 2020