Dr Javed Jamil | Clarion India
I HAVE always been critical of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in formulating right policies to achieve its stated objective of “highest standards of health” and have minced no words in calling it “the Failed Organisation”. I have repeatedly argued that the WHO has always acted in accordance with the interests of the market forces. It has never stressed on natural preventive methods and has run huge campaigns for artificial preventive methods.
In 1980s, HIV/AIDS emerged as a pandemic and reached to a dangerous level in 1990s causing death and mayhem in across the globe. But the WHO never talked of anything like “sexual distancing” throughout the period despite the scientifically proven facts showing direct relationship between the HIV and promiscuity, prostitution and homosexuality.
At that time, the only slogan of WHO was “Condoms, Condoms and Condoms”. The result was that sex markets continued to prosper, so did the HIV statistics. Consequently, more than 38 million people lost their lives. More than 70 million people are living with HIV to this date while hundreds of thousands die every year.
Once the antiviral therapy against HIV started getting marketed, even the “Condoms, Condoms and Condoms” campaign went into hibernation. The market wants the HIV to continue because if the problem subsides, both “problem market” as well as “solution market” will nosedive.
With the spread of Covid-19, the WHO is busy raising the “Test, Test and Test” slogan. It failed to call for ban on travel from and to China at the right time and between other countries again at the right time. If travelling from and into Wuhan, then from China and into China had been controlled at the right time, the Covid could not have become a pandemic.
The WHO started sounding alarm over the disease turning into a pandemic as early as in the beginning of January this year. Yet it failed to advise the governments to take steps to stop the entry of Corona in their countries. Why would the WHO come in the way of transport and travel industry?
The irony is that even after governments world over have imposed severe restrictions on travel within their countries and between different countries, the WHO continues to say, “Test, Test and Test”. This formula again is going to help the testing kit manufacturing companies.
Testing is though extremely important, projecting it as the only solution will only worsen the situation. The WHO is hoping that the anti-Covid vaccines or treatment will soon emerge and then again, like HIV/AIDS, it will soften its alarm against the Covid.
I have always argued that economics is an essential constituent of life. It is like stomach, which provides energy to every single organ of the body. But let the stomach remain stomach and not assume the role of heart and brain. Just as the stomach plays its role effectively only if it is provided with good and not harmful foods and drinks, the economics plays its good role only till it engages in healthy businesses.
As soon as the healthcare system starts offering dangerous choices to the people in the name of “Freedom of Choice”, the humanity runs the risk of getting ill. There cannot be anything more inhuman than letting the people fall ill because the healthcare industry needs patients and the markets of the causes of the problems need them.
Covid-19 has given the world an opportunity to contemplate on introducing what I called “Dynamic Paradigm of Health” in my book, “Economics First or Health First?”, released in August last year. Economics is to be strong, but where there is a rivalry between economics and health, health must reign supreme. The onus of preserving health is not merely on the individuals; the system too has to be health protective and must take effective steps in disallowing people access to harmful items and practices.