LONDON ( Associated Press) – The World Health Organization called an emergency meeting on Thursday to consider whether to declare a global emergency in view of the growing outbreak of monkeypox. But some experts argue that the WHO’s decision to react only when the disease has spread to the West could address the deep disparities between rich and poor countries that have surfaced during the coronavirus pandemic.
The declaration of a global emergency would mean that the UN health agency considers the outbreak an “extraordinary event” at the risk of crossing more borders, which would require a global response. In that case, monkeypox would fall under the category of the COVID-19 pandemic and the polio eradication campaign.
The WHO said it did not expect to announce any decisions of its emergency committee before Friday.
Many scientists doubt that such a declaration would help curb the pandemic, as developed countries where the most recent cases have been reported are already taking steps to end it early.
Last week, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the monkeypox epidemic recently identified in more than 40 countries, mainly in Europe, was “unusual and worrying”. Monkeypox has infected people in Central and West Africa for decades. One type kills up to 10% of those infected. No deaths have been reported in the pandemic outside Africa so far.
“If the WHO was really concerned about the transmission of monkeypox, they could have called their emergency committee years ago, when it reappeared in Nigeria in 2017 and nobody knew why we suddenly had hundreds of cases. ,” said Oyewale Tomori, a Nigerian virologist. Which is a member of several WHO advisory groups. “It’s a little curious that the WHO only called its experts when the disease appeared in white countries.”