04 May

Who should respond to international epidemics?

Posted By Politybooks

youde When there is an international disease outbreak, who should respond? Who should coordinate disease surveillance operations? Answering these questions is less straightforward than commonly thought.

The World Health Organization is charged with being the lead agency to respond to transnational infectious disease epidemics, but it is hardly the only interested party.

Governments play a role. New hybrid organizations like UNAIDS and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria have emerged in recent years. Private actors like the Clinton Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have assumed a place of prominence.

The International Health Regulations have undergone a wholesale transformation in the past decade, fundamentally altering the responsibilities of both states and individuals.

Global Health Governance sorts out the jumble of history, actors, and issues facing global health today. It begins by examining early efforts at creating some measure of coherence in international health efforts.

The second section focuses on the key actors involved in global health in the contemporary world: the World Health Organization, World Bank, UNAIDS, the Global Fund, private foundations, and civil society organizations.

The final section turns its attention to some of the key issues facing global health governance today, like the role of disease surveillance, efforts to frame global health as a security issue, and access to pharmaceuticals.

Global health has achieved an unprecedented level of prominence in recent years, and global health governance has moved in fits and starts to respond to this heightened visibility. Global Health Governance helps the reader understand how we got to the place we currently are and anticipate where we might be going.

Jeremy Youde is assistant professor of political science at the University of Minnesota Duluth.