Thursday, May 22, 2003

WHO gets it in the neck over SARS

Dr Mark Salter of the WHO has admitted that WHO acted too slowly in response to SARS. According to BBC News, 'Dr Salter admitted the WHO had not always been "as responsive and as quick as some people might like" in the early stages of the disease.'

I would argue the opposite. In order to ensure that they were seen to be doing something, WHO overreacted to SARS. It should not have issued a global alert in March about the disease, nor should it have declared travel advisories. While it was acting in a sensible manner in attempting to coordinate disease control measures on the ground, it's media strategy could have been a lot more low-key. SARS is not a big killer. It is a disease almost entirely restricted to one region of the world, which has killed a relatively small number of people, and which is coming under control in the majority of affected areas. The SARS panic has caused more problems than the disease.

Sars experts: 'We were too slow', BBC News, 21 May 2003

WHO's to blame for the SARS panic?, by Rob Lyons, spiked, 20 May 2003


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