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ASPHER is the key independent European organisation dedicated to strengthening the role of public health by improving education and training of public health professionals for both practice and research.
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Now is not the time to undermine the World Health Organization

Publication date: 07.05.2020
Author: Jose M Martin-Moreno

Jose M. Martin-Moreno, ASPHER Honours Committee Chair and John Middleton, ASPHER President have co-authored an article in support of the World Health Organization in The BMJ Opinion.

Below are excerpts from the piece. The full editorial details a sampling of the many important actions and responsibilities shouldered by WHO during the COVID-19 crisis, finding inspiration in their work and the initiatives that are supporting it.

Let’s focus on the solutions!

Read the full article here.

Now is not the time to undermine the World Health Organization

In any human endeavour, when something goes wrong, it is natural to immediately ask who did not perform well, and ultimately who is to blame, but experience shows that doing this often makes the problem worse. The incriminated person or entity quickly looks for someone else to blame, or with whom to at least share the responsibility for the failure so that they themselves can be excused. 

While this often fruitless exchange of mutual accusations takes place, the problem or crisis grows ever bigger and the already limited creative energy that should be focused on solving it is diverted to attacking another party and defending oneself.

During the covid-19 pandemic we have seen within our countries all kinds of recriminations and finger pointing, including at, among others, the government, the opposition and various expert committees.

And we have also observed the same behaviour on the international stage, with other countries and multiple international organisations harshly criticised or directly accused… and the World Health Organization (WHO) singled out with particular fierceness.

[...]

Fortunately, wonderful initiatives have emerged that more than compensate for the hardships caused by these international tensions... [They] are a source of inspiration, let us avoid becoming people who enjoy finding a culprit rather than a solution. When we are facing a great crisis, it is when people (leaders, professionals, family members, friends, or in short, all fellow citizens) must help each other, that synergy and the deepest affection can and must prevail.


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