A recommended read for anyone involved in global health: Dr. Margaret Chan’s (Director-General of the World Health Organization) report to the WHO’s Executive Board. The report highlights a lot of the successes and challenges in global health over the last year, and ends with a call for change in the way WHO operates:
International norms and standards also contribute to equity. Everyone in the world deserves the same assurance that the air they breathe, the water they drink, the food they eat, the medicines they take, and the chemicals they encounter will not harm their health.
This is the ideal. The reality, of course, depends, once again, on capacity, including regulatory capacity. What good are norms and standards if countries lack the capacity to implement them?
And we are back to the basic question. How far do the duties and responsibilities of WHO extend? How much are we obliged to ensure that our work actually has an impact on health outcomes? This is clearly happening in some areas, but not all.