World Health Organization (WHO) has been facing a lot of backlash from around the world for varying degrees of accusations bothering on its inability to meet the expectations of different people across the globe in its efforts managing COVID-19. The US President has accused the WHO of negligence and failing in its duty to alert the world of the seriousness of coronavirus in Wuhan China despite being fully aware of the danger it then poses to world public health. The current devastation worldwide by COVID-19 is blamed on the failure of the WHO to perform its critical early warning mandate.
In the midst of all of these, two key observations stand out; one is the confidence the WHO has in itself and its imaginary capacity to meet the challenges of managing world medical emergencies. Secondly is the world’s near-absolute faith in the WHO’s ability to meet and contain global health challenges. Put differently, the entire world had assumed that with the WHO and the funds made available for financing its global operations, humanity has it all figured out as long as health emergency is concerned. But we are all realizing that actually, no one has it all figured out. Indeed, nobody expects this level of global disruption on account of health-related problems in the 21st century. Maybe it is possible in Africa, but not in the advanced world. This understandably informed some projections about how bad the pandemic will be for Africa, but months on, these projections have been thoroughly defiled and beaten to humiliation as Africa follows slowly behind the rest of the world in the coronavirus casualty.
WHO is under enormous pressure evidenced by its continuous back and forth on measures in containing the spread of the virus.
Before now the WHO and world major economies were all pretending that they have what it takes to meet all global challenges, but we have once again been back to the truism that humanity is limited and no matter how developed or knowledgeable or prepared we are willing to claim to have attained, we are still susceptible to be overwhelmed. But the fact is that we left the WHO too much space to fail when we entrusted it with the responsibility to ensure that the health and medical safety of the entire world is dutifully catered for. Consequently, the WHO is under enormous pressure evidenced by its continuous back and forth on measures in containing the spread of the virus. For instance, the use of face mask which the WHO once rejected as a solution in containing the virus, was later considered by WHO as a preventive measure.
This acceptance came upon the WHO’s suspect that the coronavirus could be airborne and possibly use of facemasks can help to prevent contain it. Although the WHO later dismissed its own speculation that COVID-19 could be airborne. Also, countries like South Korea and the Czech Republic have more encouraging results from the use of facemasks. The Czech Republic only relaxed its strict rule on use of facemask a few days ago. After that, the WHO then adopted use of facemasks with some guidelines insisting that it does not stop the spread of the deadly virus, but many countries have issued directives to their citizens, mandating them to all wear facemask in public. Similarly, the WHO had given some semblance of hope in the possible use of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 but after it had subjected the drug to clinical trials on humans, on Monday then it announced that it is halting the trials over fear that it is not safe for treatment of COVID-19 patients. The drug according to the WHO’s Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, causes higher mortality, according to observational study of the drug use on COVID-19 patients.
The fact is, the WHO like many countries and all of humanity is trapped in the confusion of the coronavirus. Quite frankly, they do not have a solution all figured out and waiting. On the contrary, like many countries, what they are doing is trial and error. The WHO has no solution to the novel coronavirus, no one has the solution. But with the expectation and enormous responsibility bestowed on the WHO by all humanity, it would be scandalous if the WHO did not find a way to keep us all hopeful. In fact, they dare not try to show any sign that they have no solution. But truly, they do not. However, these are desperate times indeed.
Funding is a big issue considering the economic frailty created by the novel coronavirus.
Even WHO’s directive to discontinue use of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19 has been vigorously opposed by countries like Nigeria which insists that it will continue to use hydroxychloroquine in its clinical management of COVID-19 patients. Funding is a big issue considering the economic frailty created by the novel coronavirus. Countries are scampering, gasping for air to sustain their economies. The WHO has just opened a foundation based in Geneva to source for funds through donations. Everyone is simply struggling to survive and there is little space for serious cooperation and collaboration to make WHO’s job easier.
In truth, the WHO has become a victim of its own dictatorship or maybe absolute posturing in providing world solutions to global health challenges.
Many countries are now trying to find an alternative solution that may be offered by orthodox medicine. Only recently, the Nigerian Minister of state for health, had a conference with herbal medicine practitioners, at the end, there are about twenty-seven claims of herbal cure for the coronavirus in Nigeria. Although the Director-General of National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC); Prof. Moji Adeyeye insisted that the herbal mixtures must be subjected to scientific proof. On Wednesday during the Presidential Task Force briefing, the task force informed Nigerians that three of the herbal mixtures has shown positive signs and can now proceed for further testing. The takeaway is that countries are faced with as much uncertainty as the WHO, but while it is understandable for countries, it is not the same for WHO. In truth, the WHO has become a victim of its own dictatorship or maybe absolute posturing in providing world solutions to global health challenges.
Perhaps, it is time for the WHO to reorganize its administrative structure and decentralize. It should also in an attempt to accept the fallibility of human beings managing its operations, not pose as the ultimate and final authority on global health issues as if it has every answer or solution to all health challenges. People should also go-slow on their high expectations of the WHO and rather intensify efforts at finding solutions for COVID-19 as well as alerting the world of any case of potential global health crisis. This is understanding that all services to humanity is a collective responsibility in the best interest of all of mankind and not about the WHO.
♦ Ebuka is a Senior Writer and Columnist with the WAP
- FG Set to Scale Up Contribution of Livestock to GDP, Minister - October 26, 2021
- Navy Seeks Special Intervention Fund to Establish More Jetties - October 26, 2021
- Sudanese Military Leaders Seize Power, Dissolve Transitional Government - October 26, 2021