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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Michelle Bachchan said WHO’s health rules would be violated in US decision-making. Are they?

Former US Representative Michelle Bachman says the Biden administration is proposing amendments to the World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations that would transfer US sovereign authority over health care decisions to the WHO director-general.

Here’s a look at the issue.

The International Health Regulations, which aim to detect disease outbreaks, allow the Director-General of the WHO to declare a public health emergency of international concern. Member countries agree to follow the guidelines, but the WHO does not have the power to enforce them, nor can it interfere with other countries’ decision-making processes, according to experts.

As the WHO hosts its 75th World Health Assembly starting Sunday, some social media users are misrepresenting the proposals the US is bringing to the conference, where delegates from 194 member states discuss priorities. call to do.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the US has drafted a series of amendments to a legal framework called the International Health Regulations, which defines the rights and obligations of countries in dealing with cross-border public health emergencies. The US amendments call for greater accountability and transparency in responding to such emergencies.

But some commentators, including Bachchan, bloggers and conservative political commentators, are misrepresenting the proposals to claim they would take health policy decision-making powers away from US officials and unilaterally give the WHO director-general authority.

“These amendments will shift our health care decision-making from American hands to the director-general of the WHO,” said Bachman, a former Minnesota congressman, calling on a conservative radio show last week. The segment was posted to Facebook, where it has been viewed over 32,000 times.

Bachchan suggested that the same amendments would allow the director general to enforce global lockdown and vaccine mandates, as well as climate change policy and even gun control measures on member states. Bachchan did not respond to a request for comment.

Experts familiar with international health regulations say these claims are misleading, and the idea that director-generals can impose enforceable mandates on other countries is unfounded.

Lawrence Gostin, a law professor at Georgetown University and director of the university’s WHO Collaborative Center on National and Global Health Law, told the Associated Press that the director-general only has the power to make recommendations, not the power to make laws or otherwise make national policy decisions. .

“It is completely untrue that the IHR would interfere with health care decisions or transfer such decisions to the Director-General of WHO,” he wrote in an email.

Gostin, who also helped write the 2005 edition of the IHR, cited the fact that China signed the IHR, but by delaying the reporting of the initial COVID-19 outbreak and later at its core. Violated it by pushing back against the WHO investigation. The US amendments try to prevent this from happening by tightening the requirements for reporting information to the WHO and allowing them to conduct uninterrupted investigations, among other changes.

Dr. David Friedman, elected president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, who served on the WHO committee of IHR experts for a decade, reiterated that the WHO has “zero enforcement, policing or punitive powers.”

Besides this, the IHR is mostly focused on preventing the spread of infectious diseases and epidemics, he said. Specific measures such as climate change, gun control or vaccinations or lockdowns are also not mentioned.

Some social media users are confusing the IHR with a separate effort, launched by the WHO to develop a global agreement on pandemic prevention and response. That agreement is still being drafted, but experts told the Associated Press there is no evidence it would delegate any national decision-making power.

“Unfortunately, there has been a small minority of groups making misleading statements and willfully distorting facts,” WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said during a news briefing on Tuesday, clarifying that the WHO does not override the sovereignty of member states. does.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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