As the coronavirus pandemic ravages health and economic structures, the World Health Organization (WHO) is under fire. Amid international spats, politicians have scapegoated the UN agency – and more credibly criticized it for underestimating the dangers of COVID-19. The Trump Administration has now announced that the US is quitting the WHO, accusing the 194-member organization of becoming a puppet of China. Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, joins Altamar to urge a restructuring of WHO to allow monies from private foundations and to counter China’s influence by bringing in a country like Taiwan, a public health leader. He explains the strengths and limitations of the WHO – and the dangers of defunding the global health watchdog. Dr. Adalja is an expert on emerging infectious diseases, pandemic preparedness, and biosecurity. Dr. Adalja is also an Associate Editor of the journal Health Security, co-editor of the volume Global Catastrophic Biological Risks, and a contributing author for the Handbook of Bioterrorism and Disaster Medicine.
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