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

    Egypt Orders Trial for Journalists Charged With Harboring Reporters

    Order targets journalists' union chief Yehia Qalash, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim for allegedly spreading false news, harboring fugitive colleagues

    Nigerian Oil Production Falls as Militant Attacks Take Toll

    Country no longer Africa's petroleum king due to renewed militancy in its oil-producing region

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahdai
    X
    Lisa Schlein
    May 31, 2016 1:56 PM
    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahda

    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Mobile App Allows Dutch Muslims to Rate their Imams

    If a young Dutch-Moroccan app developer has his way, Muslims in the Netherlands will soon be able to rate their imams online. Mohamed Mouman says imams rarely get feedback from their followers. He believes his app can give prayer leaders a better picture of what's happening in their communities — and can also keep young people from being radicalized. Serginho Roosblad reports from Amsterdam.
    Video

    Video Moscow Condemns NATO Plans to Beef Up Defense in Eastern Europe, Baltics

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday an upcoming "landmark summit" will enhance the alliance's defensive and deterrent presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics. He is visiting Poland ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Zlatica Hoke reports
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video F-35 Fighter Jet Draws Criticisms as Costs Mount

    America’s latest fighter plane, the F-35, has been mired in controversy. Critics cite cost, faulty design, and the attempt to use it to fill multiple roles. Even the pilot’s helmet is controversial. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Concerns Over Civilian Suffering as Iraqi Forces Surround Fallujah

    Thousands of residents are trapped inside the IS-held city ahead of a full scale Iraqi offensive aimed at retaking it.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora