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The Lancet. An authority for crisis coordination and accountability

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  • The Lancet. An authority for crisis coordination and accountability

    [Source: The Lancet, full text: (LINK). Extract, edited.]
    The Lancet, Early Online Publication, 18 October 2011

    An authority for crisis coordination and accountability

    Original Text

    Frederick M Burkle a b, Anthony D Redmond c, Dudley F McArdle d

    The demand for better coordination and control is heard during and after every major international disaster. We now have the potential framework to meet this demand and we should respond. The World Health Assembly altered WHO's role in disasters after the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome with the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR) Treaty.1 WHO changed from a mainly passive responder during short-term infectious disease crises to an unprecedented active authority with a mandate to address long-term prevention, preparedness, and response roles and responsibilities. This treaty obliges WHO to obtain expert advice on any declared public health emergency of international concern. Additionally, National Focal Points should be identified to ensure a two-way channel of communication between WHO and its 194 member states, and countries are required to establish surveillance capacities and to share information relevant to public health risks.


    (a) Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard School of Public Health, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA (b) Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, Washington, DC, USA
    (c) Manchester Medical School and Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
    (d) Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia