Should the World Health Organization be criticized for its response to coronavirus and its relationship with China and Taiwan?
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What is it?
- On Tuesday, April 7, President Trump attacked the World Health Organization (WHO) for its late response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. He is not alone as the New York Times details the 3 ways that the WHO mismanaged its COVID-19 response in relation to China and Taiwan.
- The WHO also refuses to acknowledge Taiwan’s existence as a sovereign country, a policy it continued last weekend when a top WHO official appeared to avoid questions about Taiwan. The WHO also continues to classify Taiwan under China’s borders on its website.
Why is it important?
- The WHO has existed since April 7, 1948. It plays a crucial role supporting developing countries’ health needs and has played an important role in providing emergency responses to global health issues for more than 70 years – smallpox, AIDS, SARS, Ebola, MERs, Polio, etc.
- In recent years, WHO has come under criticism especially with relation to China’s growing influence and the Unites States’ diminishing sway. Many observers (political and nonpolitical) see this influence as evidenced by WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus responses to China’s handling of the pandemic.
- Several experts have argued that the WHO’s declaration of a public health crisis on March 11 was too late. This limited many countries’ preventative responses including quarantine mechanisms and preparing hospitals.
- The WHO’s questionable response to China’s mishandling of the COVID-19 outbreak has diminished the organization’s credibility. Prioritizing science over politics is needed in order to curb the global pandemic and restore its international reputation.
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