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The World Health Organization (WHO) is revisiting the International Health Regulations (IHR) and crafting an “antipandemic treaty” in the aftermath of COVID-19. Established in 2005, IHR comprises 66 articles aimed at preventing and combating the spread of infectious diseases globally. The ongoing pandemic has exposed weaknesses, prompting discussions on over 300 proposed amendments to enhance this international framework.
Controversial Changes and Sovereignty Concerns
However, experts express concerns about potential consequences, suggesting an empowerment of the WHO and limitations on member states’ sovereignty in shaping health policies. Proposed changes, including granting the WHO Director-General significant decision-making powers and access to countries’ health data, raise questions about the balance between global health coordination and national autonomy.
“Global Superministry of Health” Fears
Critics fear the transformation of WHO into a “global superministry of health,” emphasizing concerns about the Director-General gaining unprecedented authority over national health policies. The proposed changes could lead to increased dependence on WHO decisions, influencing areas such as patent protection for medical products and supply chain operations.