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TODAY'S QUESTION: How did WHO handle the H1N1 pandemic?

Monday, March 14, 2011 | 8:01 p.m. CDT; updated 8:10 p.m. CDT, Monday, March 14, 2011

The International Health Regulations Review Committee, a panel of independent experts that reviewed the World Health Organization’s handling of the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, released a draft of its report that featured several criticisms of the response to the flu outbreak.

The panel found no proof that WHO exaggerated the severity of the virus for the profit of drug companies.

The panel did say, however, that WHO should not have kept the identities of the Emergency Committee members confidential, as it “fed suspicions that the Organization had something to hide.” It said potential conflicts of interest among members were not “managed in a timely fashion by WHO.”

It also criticized “the absence of a consistent, measurable and understandable depiction of severity of the pandemic.” The pandemic phase structure was “needlessly complex,” the report said.

The panel did commend the organization and its partners for having pandemic preparedness plans in place in 74 percent of countries when the outbreak occurred, efficient distribution of more than 3 million antiviral drugs to 72 countries and timely deployment and assistance to affected countries.

What do you think of WHO's response to the H1N1 outbreak?


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