WHO under scrutiny over its response to Covid-19

A panel has been set up to review the workings and response of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic where the panel has access to all the documents that were created by the United Nations agency.

The independent panel appointed by WHO itself has been given the liberty to access emails, documents, or materials that can be of use to analyze the response of the health organization. The panel announced the procedure of conduct on Thursday. The board consists of 11 members other than co-chairs, former Liberian President Ellen Jhonson, and former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, as announced in the media briefing. The panel also includes Dr. Joanne Liu, who led Medecins Sans Frontieres also known as Doctors without Borders and was an open critic to WHO during the Ebola virus outbreak 2014-2016 in West Africa.

The first doctor to announce human to the human transaction of the virus, Dr. Zhong Nanshan and Mark Dybul who led the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria are also included in the panel. Clark further clarified that for the selection procedure only she and Johnson Sirleaf are responsible and WHO did not influence the process at all.

“We look forward to a period of intense work together at a key moment in history. We must honor the more than 25.6 million people known to have contracted the disease and the 850,000 and counting who have died from COVID-19,” Johnson Sirleaf said.

This is being done to look into the finding of the Associated Press when they revealed that China had delayed the information to WHO which also included the virus’s genetic information. Internal reports also reveal that WHO officials were frustrated by the lack of intent from the Chinese to share information. It comes under their duty to examine how WHO or the country’s governments would have acted if they had any prior information about the extent of the danger.

The schedule of the board included them meeting first on September 17 and then every six weeks till April. The final report will be submitted next year but the panel will address the group’s progress by November. The panel is completely funded by WHO.

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