Home » WHO: a missed alternative | Salute International

WHO: a missed alternative | Salute International

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WHO: a missed alternative |  Salute International

Benedetto Saraceno

More than half of the world‘s inhabitants – 4.5 billion individuals – have nice issue accessing important well being providers and a pair of billion individuals incur harmful medical prices. Faced with an ongoing world well being disaster, the World Health Organization has no voice or technique.

At the occasion of the 77th World Assembly of the World Health Organization (27 May – 2 June 2024), its director basic introduced, as normal, the primary speech addressing the 194 ministers of well being on the earth.. Unlike a few of his predecessors (Gro Harlem Brundtland, Norwegian and Lee Jong-wook, from Korea) the present director basic Tedros Adhanom Ghebrayesus, the Ethiopian confirmed some weak point in his speech that didn’t present a world imaginative and prescient and techniques for the foremost themes of world life. Tedros restricted himself to itemizing the targets achieved and targets not but achieved satisfactorily however didn’t tackle any drawback in depth and supplied basic and obscure information.

He gave excellent news.

  • There at the moment are nineteen million fewer people who smoke and ninety nations have raised tobacco taxes. But nothing was mentioned about loss of life.
  • By 2023, 13 nations have applied insurance policies aimed toward eliminating trans fatty acids from meals. But we do not know what these nations are.
  • One hundred and twenty new medication, vaccines and diagnostics have been developed for AIDS, Malaria, Multi-Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis, Ebola, polio and COVID-19.
  • The initiative has begun The Big Catch Up aimed toward re-establishing efficient vaccination applications in these nations the place COVID has diverted assets from routine vaccinations, similar to measles, diphtheria, polio and yellow fever.
  • Azerbaijan, Belize, Cabo Verde and Tajikistan are licensed as malaria-free nations.
  • Eight million individuals obtained TB analysis and remedy.
  • 75% of individuals dwelling with AIDS at the moment obtain antiretroviral medication. But it isn’t identified whether or not this information refers to WHO actions carried out within the yr 2023 or is the sum of earlier years of intervention.
  • Ten new nations have established hypertension intervention packages. But it isn’t identified which nations these are.

We might go on with this lengthy listing of successes or partial successes. In addition, because the director-general enumerates the achievements, he notes, however unequivocally, that half of the world‘s inhabitants doesn’t obtain important well being providers, and he doesn’t add different issues.

In quick, if some info within the speech broadcasts an undoubted success, then most of it stays acquainted: we assist nations to develop climate-friendly well being methods, we assist forty-three nations to implement applications to scale back maternal and youngster mortality, and we assist eighteen nations to strengthen look after the aged. and so forth. This countless purchasing listing offers obscure, basic information, complicated info and desires, mixing the outcomes of the fiscal yr 2023 with the outcomes of the final twenty years. Finally, all this info could be present in an correct, detailed and cost-effective method in lots of (too many) paperwork (8000 new publications!!) printed by WHO and obtainable to ministerial delegations in all nations. This shouldn’t be what member nations and their representatives want once they sit in an annual assembly and hearken to the world‘s highest well being chief.

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Instead, they want a strategic imaginative and prescient and above all they should talk about and know the WHO’s place on world and vital points that Tedros’ speech didn’t say something about: WHO funding and technical cooperation with poor nations: who pays, how a lot and the way a lot affect personal donors and so-called charities have and the way a lot is the general public contribution of governments; how a lot affect does Big Pharma weigh within the situation of drug and vaccine patents; how a lot political strain from giant nations weighs on the implementation of the Health Regulations; what are (or ought to be) the political implications of knowledge on the impression of public choices and what WHO’s actions are to make sure that the detrimental penalties of those choices are managed and managed; what are the influences on WHO insurance policies of commerce choices and entry factors from them; lastly, when it comes to wars and violations of rights and the apparent penalties for human well being, it isn’t clear from the dialogue what WHO is.

A current Lancet article (2) on common entry and availability of well being methods addresses the difficulty of the “4 elephants within the room”: i) poor political dedication; ii) insufficient financing of world well being; iii) diversification of world well being efforts and repair integration; iv) larger range in communication and advocacy for common well being care. This newspaper opinion directed by Richard Horton presents a extra acutely aware and strategic view of the foremost issues of world well being than the director basic of the WHO in his speech. The world well being chief ought to discuss these main issues however on May 27, 2024, in entrance of the world well being authorities, he missed the chance to verify the ethical and technical management of the WHO.

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In the tip, Italy’s efficient contribution to this disappointing image was missing. The Minister of Health Schillaci withdrew from the discussions concerning the pandemic settlement, which is being mentioned on the world assembly of the WHO. Showing a deep ignorance of the well being of the worldwide group, the minister, who shares the positions of Mr. Milei from Argentina, fears that sticking to the pandemic settlement will give the WHO to handle the subsequent pandemic, thus making a threat for the Italian monarchy. as an alternative of which he would like to proceed in that center method from you of the states which have typically proven themselves to be extra delicate to the causes of the mob than to these of public life. Schillaci ended up leaving Geneva with out endorsing, as did all international delegates, the thought of ​​persevering with an intense debate to succeed in a world settlement (on this, see the nicearticle by Nicoletta Dentico within the Manifesto of 29 May 2024).

But this time it wasn’t about defending Italian cheese, as Lollobrigida, Santanché and Salvini favored, however about displaying an actual world well being tradition freed from nationwide and imperial issues. Life shouldn’t be like gorgonzola.


  1. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Address of the WHO Director-General on the Seventh World Health Assembly. https://www.who.int/director-general/speeches/element/who-director-general-s-address-to-the-seventy-seventh-world-health-assembly—27-may-2024
  2. Bertram Ok, Aylward B, Bosio L, Clark H, Colombo F, Dain Ok et al. Confronting the elephant within the room: the driving pressure behind world healthcare. Lancet, February 2024. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(24)00365-9

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