News / Africa

WHO Committee Investigates H1N1 Flu Response

Lisa Schlein

The World Health Organization has wrapped up a three-day review process of the world's response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic.  A committee of 29 independent experts has set the agenda for a forthcoming year-long probe into how well the first flu pandemic of the 21st century has been managed.  

The World Health Organization, or WHO, has been criticized for the manner in which it has handled the H1N1 influenza pandemic.  

Some critics accuse the U.N. health agency of having exaggerated the severity and dangers of the disease.  Others charge the WHO has been influenced by major pharmaceutical companies, which has resulted in the over-production of flu vaccine.

The chairman of the investigative panel is Harvey Fineberg, the president of the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Fineberg says the committee is mindful of the WHO's critics.

"We want to give a hearing to those," said Harvey Fineberg. "We want to take account of those.  We want to consider those.  And, indeed, we would like to understand what their criticisms are and the basis for them.  We want to be able to take that into account.  We want to face up to those.  We are not here to either defend or to prosecute the WHO.  That is not our job.  We are here to find out as best we can and in as truthful a way as we can what are the lessons that we can learn."

Dr. Fineberg says members of the committee do not represent any organization or country, and that each member has been vetted to ensure they have no financial stake in the outcome of the inquiry.

He says the WHO director-general has given the committee free access to the organization's staff and documents.  He says the investigation will be completely transparent.

He says the committee has organized its work into five areas.  

"The first being the preparedness phase, the pre-pandemic issues," he said. "The second being, what we call in shorthand, the alert phase.  That is everything that leads up through the epidemiology, analysis and decision making to recognition of what is happening.  And, the third, the response phase.  How do you respond to the epidemic in its various stages?  A fourth group really dealt with a cutting issue, which is communication"  

Dr. Fineberg says the fifth area of exploration deals with how well the WHO is administering the International Health Regulations.  The regulations guide the world's handling of global public health emergencies, including the H1N1 flu pandemic and non-pandemic issues.

The committee plans to meet again at the end of June and the end of September to discuss and analyze the results of their findings.   

An interim report is expected to be presented in May at this year's World Health Assembly and the final report is expected to be presented at the Assembly next year.

The originally published version of this story incorrectly named Dr. Harvey Fineberg as the president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Fineberg is the president of the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. VOA regrets the error.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid