WHO, Corona and Present Crisis

by Dr. Santhosh Mathew - 11 May, 2020, 12:00 2852 Views 0 Comment

“Humanity Needs Leadership And Solidarity To Defeat The Corona Virus.” – (WHO)

COVID-19 pandemic is one of the best definitions of a global health crisis. With its emergence in Asia in December 2019, now the virus has spread to every continent except Antarctica. Nations are struggling to mitigate the further spread of the virus by testing, tracing contacts, declaring curfews and lockdown, prohibiting gatherings, cancellation of matches, etc. One of the strongest weapons against the virus is self-hygiene and social distancing. But the worst is yet to come. By the time we flatten the curve, there will be a drastic change in the curves of poverty and unemployment.

The World Health Organisation is the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations system. The experts under this organization issue health guidelines and help countries to address such issues. They also support and promote health research. Through this organization, governments can jointly tackle global health issues and improve people’s well being. It has been a few months since the whole of humanity has been struggling in the grip of the deadly coronavirus. The first case of the disease was being reported in Wuhan, a city in China. The outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020 by the WHO. On 11 February 2020, WHO announced a name for the new coronavirus disease – COVID-19. Quite unexpectedly the united states halted its funding to the WHO. The US President Donald Trump said that he is going to halt funding to the WHO because “It has failed in its basic duty” in its response to the coronavirus outbreak.

He accused the UN agency of mismanaging and covering up the spread of the virus after it emerged in China and said it must be held accountable. In response to this, the UN’S Chief said it was “not the time” to cut funds to the WHO.

Stephen Buranyi, a writer specialising in science and the environment said, “Attacked by Trump and ignored by many of its most powerful members, the WHO is facing a major crisis just at the moment we need it most.”

In the words of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (WHO Director-General); “The best defense against any outbreak is a strong health system. COVID-19 is revealing how fragile many of the world’s health systems and services are, forcing countries to make difficult choices on how to best meet the needs of their people.”

To help countries navigate through these challenges, the WHO has updated Operational Planning Guidelines.

Campaigns and missions by WHO to combat COVID-19

FIFA and WHO have teamed up to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) by launching a new awareness campaign led by world-renowned footballers, who are calling on all people around the world to follow five key steps to stop the spread of the disease — Pass the message: Five steps to kicking out Coronavirus.

“FIFA and its President Gianni Infantino have been actively involved in passing the message against this pandemic since the very beginning,” said WHO Director-General at the virtual launch of the campaign at the headquarters.

“Teamwork is very essential to combat the coronavirus. FIFA has teamed up with the WHO because health comes first. I call upon the football community worldwide to join us in supporting this campaign to pass the message even further. Some of the players to have played the beautiful game have put their names in the campaign and are united in their desire to pass the message to kick out COVID-19.”

On 21 April 2020, WHO sent a group of experts to Belarus recommending physical distancing measures as COVID-19 transmits in the community.

WHO Delegation concludes COVID-19 technical mission to Egypt: A Team of experts from WHO concluded a COVID-19 technical support mission to Egypt on 25 March 2020. The objectives of the mission were to understand the current situation; review ongoing response activities; provide onsite technical support as needed; and identify strengths and gaps to guide response priorities.

WHO deploys rapid response team to Italy: The team of experts from WHO and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) was deployed to Italy on a 12-day mission to strengthen understanding about the evolution of the disease and support the national response.

WHO and China joint mission on Coronavirus: The overall goal of the joint mission was to rapidly inform national and international planning on the next steps in the response to the ongoing outbreak of the Novel Corona Virus and on the next steps in readiness and preparedness for geographic areas not affected.

The major objectives of the joint mission are as follows:

• To enhance understanding of the evolving COVID-19 outbreak in China and the nature and impact of ongoing containment measures.

• To share knowledge on COVID-19 response and preparedness measures being implemented in countries affected by or at risk of importations of COVID-19.

• To generate recommendations for adjusting COVID-19 containment and response

• WHO is working with Create 2030 and a group of international working artists on a project to showcase films, music, poetry and visual art about the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Solidarity Art Shows: Through this series, WHO provides the artists in all genres a free voice to express and interpret the current COVID-19 experiences through their own unique artistic lenses. The views and opinions expressed are those of the artists and do not reflect scientific knowledge nor represent the views of WHO.

• Together at home: Global citizen, WHO and a group of dedicated artists have launched “Together At Home”- A series of performances by the artists from home.

• WHO considers sending a mission to China to find the animal source of coronavirus

The coronavirus is a global crisis and not a crisis of globalization. The virus has spread to 188 countries around the globe. The world had to shut down. Places that were once teeming with the hustle and bustle of daily life have become ghost towns with massive restrictions put on our lives — from lockdowns and school closures to travel restrictions and bans on mass gatherings. The cost of the uncontrollable spread of the virus was the loss of lakhs of precious lives around the world. It also puts forward a lesson to the whole health sector about their insufficiencies and to the public the importance of hygiene and sanitation of oneself and the surroundings. Rightly remembering the proverb “Prevention is better than cure.”

Dr. Santhosh Mathew
Author is Assistant Professor, Centre For South Asian Studies, Pondicherry Central University, India

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