How do the world’s poorest nations tackle a global health crisis like the current coronavirus outbreak? After the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the World Bank launched the Pandemic Emergency Financing (PEF) facility — an insurance-based mechanism to raise money for pandemic responses in low-income countries through “catastrophe bonds” and derivatives.
The coronavirus pandemic is exactly the situation for which the PEF was designed. Most of the PEF-eligible countries are reporting covid-19 cases and urgently require billions of dollars to scale up their public health response. So far, the PEF has yet to pay out a single dollar. Here’s what happened and why.… Seguir leyendo »
On Thursday, after delaying for an extra day of deliberation, the World Health Organization decided not to declare the outbreak of pneumonia caused by a new coronavirus to be a PHEIC — a public health emergency of international concern.
The WHO’s decision has surprised many global health experts, particularly after the urgency and severity of China’s internal response. A lockdown of the city of Wuhan has become an unprecedented quarantine of 48 million people in central China. The WHO announcement raises critical questions about how the organization makes its decisions — and, in particular, the role of politics in that process.… Seguir leyendo »
A recent AP article (carried by The Washington Post) grabbed widespread attention with the charge that the “World Health Organization [WHO] routinely spends about $200 million a year on travel — far more than what it doles out to fight … AIDS, tuberculosis [TB] or malaria.” At face value, this is an alarming statistic. As the AP points out, the United Nations health agency is perpetually “cash-strapped” and “pleads for more money.” And it feeds into more general condemnation of international bureaucratic practices — President Trump, for example, calls the United Nations “a waste of time and money”.
Criticisms such as this are facile.… Seguir leyendo »