A Cheat Sheet for Legislators Regarding the WHO and Health Emergencies

A Cheat Sheet for Legislators Regarding the WHO and Health Emergencies
(Toonz Jirana/Shutterstock)
David Bell
We are told that, in a world of multiplying health emergencies, it has become necessary to give up some independence in return for safety. It's a tribute to those backing this agenda through the World Health Organization (WHO) that this message continues to gain credence. If humans are important, then we should also understand its flaws, and decide whether they matter.

1. The WHO isn't independent and is significantly privately directed.

Early WHO funding was dominated by “assessed” contributions from countries, based on national income, and the WHO decided how to use this core funding to achieve the greatest impact. Now, WHO funding is mainly “specified,” meaning that the funder may decide how and where the work will be done. The WHO has become a conduit through which a funder can implement programs from which they stand to benefit. These funders are increasingly private entities; the second largest funder of the WHO is the foundation of a software entrepreneur and Big Pharma investor.
In ceding power to the WHO, a state will be ceding power to the funders of it. They can then profit by imposing the increasingly centralized and commodity-based approach that the WHO is taking.

2. People in democracies are subject to dictatorships.

The WHO rightly represents all countries. This means that member states run by military dictatorships or other non-democratic regimes have an equal say at the World Health Assembly (WHA), the WHO’s governing body.
In ceding power to the WHO, democratic states are therefore sharing decision-making power over the health of their own citizens with these non-democratic states, some of whom will have geopolitical reasons to restrict a democratic state’s people and harm its economy. While an equal say in policy may be appropriate for a purely advisory organization, ceding actual power over citizens to such an organization is obviously incompatible with democracy.

3. The WHO isn't accountable to those it seeks to control.

Democratic states have systems through which those allowed to wield power over citizens wield it only at the citizens’ will and are subject to independent courts for malfeasance or gross and harmful incompetence. This is necessary to address the corruption that always arises, as institutions are run by humans. Like other branches of the United Nations, the WHO is answerable to itself and the geopolitics of the WHA. Even the U.N. secretariat has limited influence, as the WHO operates under its own constitution.
No one will be held accountable for the nearly quarter-million children that UNICEF estimates were killed by policies that the WHO promoted in South Asia. None of the up to 10 million girls forced into child marriage by WHO COVID-19 policies will have any path for redress. Such lack of accountability may be acceptable if an institution is simply giving advice, but it is completely unacceptable for any institution that has the power to restrict, mandate, or even censor a country’s citizens.

4. Centralization through the WHO is poor policy by incompetent people.

Before the influx of private money, the WHO’s focus was high-burden endemic infectious diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS. These are strongly associated with poverty, as are those arising from malnutrition and poor sanitation. Public health experience tells us that addressing such preventable or treatable diseases is the best way to lengthen lives and promote sustainable good health.
They are most effectively addressed by people on the ground, with local knowledge of behavior, culture, and disease epidemiology. This involves empowering communities to manage their own health. The WHO once emphasized such decentralization, advocating for the strengthening of primary care. It was consistent with the fight against fascism and colonialism within which the WHO arose.
Centralized approaches to health, in contrast, require communities and individuals to comply with dictates that ignore local heterogeneity and community priorities. Malaria isn't an issue to Icelandic people, but it absolutely dwarfs COVID-19 in Uganda. Human rights and effective interventions both require local knowledge and direction. The WHO pushed mass COVID-19 vaccination onto sub-Saharan Africa for nearly two years through their most expensive program to date, while knowing a large majority of the population were already immune, half were under 20 years old, and deaths from each of malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDs absolutely dwarfed COVID-19 mortality.
The WHO staff are rarely experts. Experience in the 2009 swine flu and West African Ebola outbreaks demonstrated that. Many have spent decades sitting in an office with minimal experience in program implementation or practical disease management. Country quotas and the nepotism associated with large international organizations mean that most countries will have far greater expertise within their borders than exists in a closeted bureaucracy in Geneva.

5. Real pandemics are not common and are not becoming more common.

Pandemics due to respiratory viruses, as the WHO pointed out in 2019, are rare events. They have occurred about once per generation over the past 120 years. Since the advent of antibiotics (for primary or secondary infections), mortality has dropped dramatically. An increase in mortality recorded during COVID-19 was complicated by definitions (“died with” versus “died of”), the average age of death was over 75 years, and death was unusual in healthy people. The global infection mortality rate was not greatly different from that of influenza. Tuberculosis, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and most other common infections kill at a much younger age, imparting a greater burden in life years lost.

In Summary

It makes no sense to grant a foreign-based, unaccountable institution powers that contradict democratic norms and good public health policy. It makes less sense when this institution has limited expertise and a poor track record and is directed by private interests and those of authoritarian governments. This is obviously counter to what a government in a democracy is supposed to do.

This isn't a matter of domestic political rivalries. However, the public relations departments of the prospective beneficiaries of this perpetual health emergency project would like us to believe it is.

We are currently funding the dismantling of our own independence and ceding our human rights to a small group that stands to benefit from our impoverishment, financed from a war chest accrued through the pandemic just ended. We don’t have to. It is as straightforward to see through this as it should be to stop it. All that is needed is clarity, honesty, and a little courage.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
David Bell, senior scholar at the Brownstone Institute, is a U.S.-based public health physician. After working in internal medicine and public health in Australia and the UK, he worked in the World Health Organization as program head for malaria and febrile diseases at the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics in Geneva, and as director of global health technologies at Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund in Bellevue, Wash. He consults on biotech and global health.