WHO and Covid-19

19 Apr 2020


THE World Health Organisation (WHO) is health agency under the United Nations committed to achieving better health for everyone across the world. It is heavily funded by all nations.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic shows that WHO is as useless as the UN. The role of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as WHO’s director general has become controversial as he was mainly focused on press conferences and making videos on ‘hand wash’.

No action was taken by WHO when it was required. WHO’s early tweets from Jan 9 to 30 on coronavirus were controversial and misleading. This shows the lack of homework by highly paid workers in Geneva, Switzerland, the most expensive place in the world.

Flu vaccine’s availability to the developing world is almost nonexistent. Pharma industry all over the world is doing a roaring business with no control of WHO whatsoever. Now there is another opportunity to develop vaccine because of Covid-19, probably not for free.

Did WHO learn any lessons from SARS virus in 2002, MERS in 2012 and Ebola in 2014 in the recent past? What measures were taken by WHO against these viruses? Was it waiting for another disaster to happen?

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has not taken any action against Ghebreyesus for his inaction. Both till to date have not made a single visit to a developing country infected by coronavirus, especially Iran, Palestine or Gaza strip. Why? Probably they need an approval from the US.

WHO officials have been involved in too many conferences, stays in luxury hotels, lunches, but no action and results. They mostly relied on pharmaceutical industry to perform miracles for them.

Now the US, EU and UK are engulfed by this pandemic. Questions will be asked to WHO chief on misleading statements and why he did not announce Covid-19 is caused owing to human to human transmission. Why was it done after a delay of 60 days? Mind you, there are elections in the US soon this year. President Donald Trump won’t take this lightly. Who is controlling WHO?

Tuberculosis is one of the top leading causes of death worldwide; 1.5million people died of tuberculosis in 2018 alone. Has anyone taken any serious action?

I suggest moving WHO head office from Geneva to Africa or any underdeveloped Asian country. Annual audit of WHO should be published by an independent auditor. The future WHO director general should be a neutral personality with ample knowledge and experience in community medicine/communicable diseases.

The WHO chief should personally visit all the developing countries after taking the office and check the entire audit work. WHO should not compromise on health issues, especially in the developing world. It should not need any endorsement from any ‘superpower’.

Prof (Dr) Tariq Aziz
Ex-President, Ophthalmological Society of Pakistan (Karachi)

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2020