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Global Rules for Global Health: Why We Need an Independent, Impartial WHO

BMJ, June 2014

5 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2014  

Devi Sridhar

University of Oxford

Julio Frenk

Harvard University - T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown University - Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law

Suerie Moon

Harvard University - Harvard Global Health Institute

Date Written: June 18, 2014

Abstract

Over the past few years the World Health Organization (WHO) has been undergoing a significant reform process. The immediate trigger was a budget crisis in 2010 that spurred massive lay-offs at the global agency. But at a more fundamental level, deeper systematic changes in global health governance have made reform imperative. While WHO reform draws relatively little attention outside diplomatic circles in Geneva, at stake are critical issues that will impact public health everywhere. This article’s key messages are: Recent outbreaks of MERS highlight the need for a global response to infectious disease; The WHO has had a crucial role in developing rapid information sharing on new infectious threats and fair arrangements for access to drugs and vaccines and to research and development; The WHO is the only international agency that can broker such global rules but is badly underfunded to perform this core function; The MERS outbreaks offer an opportunity to reform WHO financing.

Keywords: WHO, global health, global health governance, international health regulations, global health challenges

JEL Classification: K00, K30, K39

Suggested Citation

Sridhar, Devi and Frenk, Julio and Gostin, Lawrence O. and Moon, Suerie, Global Rules for Global Health: Why We Need an Independent, Impartial WHO (June 18, 2014). BMJ, June 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2456735

Devi Sridhar

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Julio Frenk

Harvard University - T.H. Chan School of Public Health ( email )

677 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Lawrence O. Gostin (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Law Center - O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-662-9038 (Phone)
202-662-9055 (Fax)

Suerie Moon

Harvard University - Harvard Global Health Institute ( email )

104 Mt. Auburn Street, 3rd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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