Why Epidemics Still Surprise Us

The world is not prepared for an outbreak of something like SARS, which has been plaguing much of Asia and is quickly spreading around the globe writes physician-turned-columnist David Ho. In this opinion piece in the New York Times, Ho says "the World Health Organization has been [ineffective] in creating and enforcing a public health policy suited for a global outbreak like this one." The organization has devolved into an advisory board with no binding obligations from member countries. "Without enforcement powers," Ho says, "the agency can do little to stop a country from trying to hide an outbreak that it finds embarrassing — until it's spread so much that it's no longer a secret… The agency's structure is inadequate for a world where infectious diseases – aided by international travel and global trade – have returned with a fury." As long as member countries are not made accountable, attempts at global governance – at least in the realm of public health – will continue to see little success. – YaleGlobal

Why Epidemics Still Surprise Us

Andy Ho
Tuesday, April 1, 2003

Click here for the original article on The New York Times website.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

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