WHO's COVID-19 review panel co-chair says to look at reforming response to pandemic: media


File photo: Agencies

WELLINGTON - Helen Clark, co-chair of a World Health Organization (WHO) panel to review the WHO-coordinated global response to COVID-19, said they would look at reforming international institutional response to a pandemic, media outlets have reported.

Clark, also former New Zealand prime minister, said the investigation "would look at the effectiveness of WHO work," as well as "how various countries responded to WHO's warnings," British newspaper the Guardian recently reported.

The report said that Clark and her colleagues already discussed whether the UN health body "needed more powers, or the introduction of a 'convention on pandemics.'"

To fight a global pandemic, the world needs global cooperation, strong international organizations, and "the WHO to be the best it can be," the report quoted Clark as saying on Friday. The agency at the moment "can basically only call on countries to be co-operative," she said.

She also pointed out the importance of "urgent funding boost" for the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, while warning against "the prospect of cascading economic collapses and all the issues that come with that."

Launched by the WHO on Thursday, the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response is co-chaired by Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The panel is supposed to present its interim report in November when the World Health Assembly (WHA) resumes and its substantive report in May next year.

The WHO said the panel is set up in accordance with a WHA resolution in May to review experience gained and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response to COVID-19. That involves the global response, including but not limited to the WHO.