Hou Sheng-mou, writing today (05/16/08) in the Taiwan Journal takes a look at "The World Health Report 2007–A Safer Future: Global Public Health Security in the 21st Century."
The Taiwan Journal writer notes the report "elucidates the importance of cooperation and information sharing among countries in the fight against disease." WHO Director-General Margaret Chan is quoted saying that "international public health security is both a collective aspiration and mutual responsibility."
Lofty statements, but WHO excludes Taiwan’s 23 million people from the global health network, all part of a secret 2005 secret agreement between the People’s Republic of China and WHO. It requires Beijing clear any communication from WHO with Taiwan.
Last year, ten days elapsed before China allowed WHO to let Taiwan know that baby corn exports from Thailand was responsible for a shigellosis out break in Denmark.
"We were lucky this time around: Our Department of Health confirmed that none of the affected corn had been imported. Though infection by the Shigella bacterium is seldom life-threating in adults, this example underlines the risk incurred by leaving Taiwan out of the global health network."
The complete article, titled "United front against disease is vital," can be found here.