The current round of WHO reform has critical implications for global health equity. Shortcomings in WHO’s performance have been widely discussed, most notably the delays in mounting an effective response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014.
The causes of such shortcomings and directions for reform have been particularly controversial. The People’s Health Movement insists that technical deliberations over global health must be understood in the context of globalisation and corporate pressures for global economic integration. To treat WHO as a purely technical body is to render invisible these realities and doing so lends weight to those who are bent on choking WHO.
A recent example of WHO reform considered in purely technical terms comes from Negin and Dhillon who argue in a paper published in BMJ Global Health that a wide range of functions presently carried out by WHO should be ‘outsourced’ to the Gates Foundation, the Gates funded Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Medicins Sans Frontieres, and national drug regulatory agencies such as the US FDA. Read PHM's response to this proposal here.
The People's Health Movement is preparing for watching the 140th meeting of the Executive Board (EB140) taking place from 23rd January to 1st February 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland.
PHM believes that the World Health Organisation (WHO) is the legitimate space for global health policy making. Through the WHO Watch initiative, PHM intervenes in the discussion of WHO's key decisions making bodies and brings the voice of the movements struggling for Health for All to the forefront. In addition, we use this opportunity to organise a capacity building workshop for activists interested in the politics of global health governance. To know more about PHM's WHO Watch Initiative, see the video here, or visit our website here.
We are in the early stages of putting together the Watch. We hope to get more and new watchers from around the world involved, consult with country circles on key issues, and develop a solid commentary on issues of interest discussed at the meetings.