Call for an early warning protocol for infectious diseases


World Health Organization (Who is the) He got his share of Cash For her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some mistakes are the responsibility of the World Health Organization, others are caused by Member States, which did not always happen. Act fast as it should.

In our opinion, the primary problem was that WHO’s sharing of current information, response and organizational structure for dealing with infectious diseases that may spread across borders quickly and severely is out of date.

We argue that the world’s population deserves a better model – one that provides information about the risks of infectious diseases emerging faster, in a transparent, verifiable, and non-politicized way.

Prepare for the next pandemic

more than One million People have Die Of COVID-19, this number can Double Before controlling the epidemic.

COVID-19 is not the first and it will not be the last. The World Health Organization has also been criticized after The 2014 Ebola epidemic.

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Environmental Protection Agency / Martial Trezzini

Global reactions to such threats have precedents 1851 And the development of standard quarantine regulations. The international initiatives that followed, punctuated with the formation of pioneering international bodies Like who In 1946, it represented a gradual advance. The latest iteration of work in this area is International Health Regulations From 2005.

We propose to add a new protocol to the WHO. We have drafted an interim discussion document, available upon request, based on the following six broad ideas.

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1. The World Health Organization remains the central decision-making body

We want to enhance the collection and sharing of information related to infectious diseases, but we believe that the World Health Organization should remain the international entity that interprets materials, raises alerts to the global community, and organizes responses.

While maintaining WHO’s centrality, we are proposing a new protocol to provide the basis for the independent collection, exchange and transfer of information between countries and with the World Health Organization. Fundamentally, we want to separate the science of early warning from policy responses.

2. The obligation to issue a risk warning

A clear and explicitly binding legal principle should be written into international law: that is, there is an obligation to transmit information as quickly as possible about a serious danger discovered in a country that could be dangerous to others.

The international community first saw this thinking in 1986 The Convention on the Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, Which was developed after the Chernobyl accident. We believe that the same thinking should move to early notification of the threats of infectious diseases, because they are just as great.

3. Independence in science

We need legally binding rules for collecting and sharing information about infectious diseases. These rules should be detailed, but have the potential to evolve. This principle is already evolving, starting with innovative solutions to problems like Regional air pollutionWhich separates scholars from decision-makers and removes any possibility of party advice.

The essence of this idea must be adapted to infectious diseases and placed within its stand-alone protocol. Signatories can then continually refine scientific needs, as scientists can update the information that needs to be collected and shared, so that decision-makers can respond in a timely manner, with the best and most independent information at their fingertips.

4. Objectivity and openness

We must clarify the principle that shared scientific information should be as comprehensive, objective, open and transparent as possible. Have I borrowed this idea From the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCCHowever, they need to be supplemented with special requirements to address the risks of emerging infectious diseases.

This may include clinical and genetic information and the sharing of biological samples to allow for rapid laboratory, medical and public health developments. Incomplete information should not be a reason for delay and all information should be open source. It will also be important to add a principle of international environmental law to work on In a precautionary manner.

In the case of early notification of infectious diseases, we claim that even if there is a lack of scientific certainty about an issue, this is not a reason to hold back from sharing information.

5. Spread to other countries

We understand that information sometimes needs verification independently and quickly. Our thinking here has been guided by Chemical Weapons Convention And use Challenging inspections. This mechanism allows, in times of emergency, inspectors to go anywhere and at any time, without the right of refusal, to provide independent third-party verification.

In the case of infectious diseases, the solution may be that in times of emergency, if 75% of the members agree to the new protocol, specialized teams are quickly deployed to any country to check all areas (except for military places) in terms of more information is required. This information will then be quickly fed back into the protocol mechanisms.

6. Independence and independent financing

We suggest that such a protocol be largely independent of WHO, and it is imperative that it have its own budget and office.

This will increase the independence of the early warning system and reduce the risks of relying on the WHO for funding (with all the volatility involved). If the protocol is well designed, it should provide a better way for state and non-state actors to contribute.

The goodwill and financial capacity of international philanthropy, transnational corporations, and civil society must be mobilized to a much greater degree to fund the new protocol.

The authors worked with Sir Jim McClay, whose leadership contribution and contributions to the proposed protocol were an integral part of the project.

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