Thu | Jun 20, 2024

Why the silence on proposed WHO regulations?

Published:Thursday | June 1, 2023 | 1:21 AM


The World Health Organization (WHO) is proposing a revised set of amendments to the International Health Regulations and, at a meeting in May 2022, set a time frame of 18 months within which a member state can lodge an objection, i.e., a ‘no’ vote. Otherwise, it will be assumed that silence indicates agreement.

The new set of regulations are set out in a very long document and the proposed changes, some of which are subtle and rather ambiguous, are not easily discerned. However, several persons with the relevant knowledge and expertise are expressing grave concern over the implications of certain important amendments. These changes appear to arrogate to the WHO an increased level of centralised power in decision-making in respect to health regulations and which, in some situations, would override local health policy and practice.

Has the Jamaican Government, and in particular our health authority, studied this document? Should its salient points be made known to the local population and our medical fraternity? Are we aware that if a ‘no’ vote is not submitted to the WHO by May 2023, our silence will mean acquiescence?