Civil Society is seldom heard but today is speaking out with the voice of millions of women. Women-led nations are beating COVID-19 but not without WHO.
The RINJ Foundation is a global civil society women’s group with some 3 million members across every nation on Earth.
My name is Micheal and I am a 3rd-term CEO of this group. As such I would like to have a word with you.
This week the United States has cancelled its fees and payment support to the World Health Organization (WHO) in the midst of a global pandemic of a ferocious respiratory virus.
This COVID-19 disease spreads from human to human and to a large extent, technically, is airborne in hospitals and other contained environments including building surrounds in the open inner city, in large convention centers, in ships like luxury cruise vessels, and in large warships. COVID-19 is killing some of our best scientists and doctors, our more senior and learned advisors.
Sadly, the United States government is no longer available for a global leadership role. The evidence is in the numbers: rinj.org/public-service/.
Before the end of April 2020 the number of cases in the United States will exceed a million and some 6 to 7 percent of those cases may result in death based on the current trajectory and the aging of existing cases, plus a 6-day doubling of reported cases that may become shorter before improving.
America, as its leadership infrastructure reliability descends to local politicians in a loud cacophony of political squabbling, has its own, out-of-control problems. America’s patient-driven health care system that caters to the white rich is not up to the challenges. Many of America’s communities need the World Health Organization.
For example, the infection and death rate of African Americans defies global trends—defies justice and human rights.
As a consequence, America has side stepped its traditional role as a leader and the world must count on China and the World Health Organization for at least partnership. As China begins to justly retaliate against America’s belligerence, we wish it wouldn’t. We also wish that the World Health Organization was not so reliant on American fees.
Ten donors of $50 million are needed.
That’s the minutia. Meanwhile two things are happening that are extremely alarming. The COVID-19 pandemic is about to hit Africa; and a new variant of Ebola has emerged.
I hate Ebola. It’s among some very nasty viruses that are about to erupt. The next one is airborne in the wild and so lethal it will kill half of those it touches. We need the WHO. Only the WHO has met this monster in battle before and won.
These leaders did not deserve the additional headache of global discord and the war America launched against China and the World Health Organization.
China has been a stalwart leader in the fight against COVID-19 despite an early and sharp virus epidemic delivered by the worst nightmare-virus the human race has ever faced across more than 100 borders. It slammed China’s Hubei province mercilessly.
China’s learning curve could have knocked many nations out of the fight. But China’s President stepped up with sleeves rolled and a gloved hand gripped the task. He inspired other leaders to take the necessary hard steps. People like Jacinda Ardern, with a tear in her eye, closed the borders and fought ‘the beast’ on New Zealand’s terms. The people of New Zealand are winning.
There have been some hard choices and Xi Jinping taught the world what is needed.
WHO rose to the occasion like it has done in our fight it carries to Ebola.
WHO cannot generally call for travel bans under international law and “such bans can be counterproductive, leading countries to withhold vital information for fear of economic isolation”, say its legal experts.
In stimulating diplomacy, and spreading the United Nations’ goodwill of Secretary General António Guterres, the World Health Organization built a rapport that brought caring and sharing to problem solving. That effort has had a good result for the countries managed by the heroic nation-state leaders depicted in the above image.
Using the information supplied by China doctors and scientists and with the wise counsel of the World Health Organization, President Vladimir Putin, President Xi Jinping, President Tsai Ing-wen, Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Lee Hsien Loong, President Moon Jae-in, His Highness Khalifa Al Nahyan, the titular head of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam plus New Zealand’s extraordinary leader Jacinda Ardern, they brought about the best possible outcomes, thus far, for their nation’s people—hundreds of millions of our brothers and sisters. Thank you, all.
That is part of what China and the World Health Organization has done to help partners accomplish their own missions.
Why the world cannot allow WHO to financially collapse.
- America is failing in its response to the SARS-CoV-2 spread and will need help from the WHO. For whatever reason, and it is America’s choice, it will not pay its share of World Health costs or does not want to do so. So be it. Other’s must come to the endeavour.
- Countries that have weak health care systems and even corrupt governments, consequently mismanaging a response to the COVID-19 epidemic, like the Philippines in South East Asia for example, may at some point admit they desperately need support from the World Health Organization. Alternatively they will fail in a collapsed kleptocracy that has no more money to steal. Millions will die of starvation as failed economies never rebuild and disease takes over. Revolution follows which will only have a bad outcome and again re-spread the virus all over the world. That’s just one of many scenarios, some better, some worse, none good. The World Health Organization is the only group that offers a course of action of last means for health emergencies.
- A health care solution is the only way ahead for solving a pandemic; military solutions being the worst possible methods—a fact that is emerging in shuttered alleyways in the Philippines where the smell of death will be (and has been) leaking out the cracks and crevices of overpopulated ghettoed-inner-city-shanty populations.
- The outbreak of COVID-19 is barely nudging an incipient stage in Africa and the potential for global resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic will never go away until every nation suppresses the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
- Countries like Malaysia and Indonesia which have done a remarkable job of fighting COVID-19 do so with few medical resources. They should be able to seek counsel and physical support from WHO. That was why WHO was created.
- China and Russia have delivered thousands of tons of medical supplies to over 100 countries. South Korea has also stepped up. These nations have their own problems and yet they make up the core of an incipient movement toward global human solidarity that is coalescing truly strong, truly great nations.
- Another disease has resurfaced in a new more dangerous variant: Ebola. We need WHO.
- Only the World Health Organization is equipped with the know-how and medical leadership to solve these problems. And let’s face it, this is dirty work nobody else wants to do.
Human solidarity is needed.
If you are able to make a substantial donation to the world health organization, this is where they are: Donate to WHO Here.
I promise you that I am not writing to you from an armchair in Toronto while postulating on world affairs. Instead I am on the front lines far from home, reading ground glass opacities on lung x-rays while managing a team of health care workers around the world with minimum resources save our own powerful determination to fight for the safety and good health of every single patient/client.
Meanwhile, let’s rejoice in the extraordinary work of some real heroes, too many to mention, all of our global health workers who when choosing a career, never knew it would lead to this terrible danger. They too rely on the World Health Organization.
One last note. I took the WHO COVID-19 Certification Course and invite readers to do the same as it will give you a deeper understanding of what the World Health Organization does, and why we need this international institution. You could start here.
May God bless you with the best of health and a good outcome in all that you undertake.
Micheal John O’Brien
CEO, The RINJ Foundation