The government has not bothered to inform us but only the statement of chief scientist of WHO, who happens to be an Indian, informs us that an International Pandemic Treaty is underway and most countries are in agreement.
While the government has not shown any indication to discuss the draft in public before going ahead with an all-important International Pandemic Treaty with WHO, it is very important for us to understand and discuss it as it will affect our health directly and it is going to be a second Episode of East India Company rule in India.
Apart from some basic epidemiological sense or even common sense, there are three important factors why this Treaty has to be opposed. Firstly, WHO is not what it was when it was formed, especially the funding of WHO has changed. Secondly, the whole Treaty is being discussed behind closed doors, where apart from representative of the member countries, other stake holders/social enterprises (NGOs funded by large corporations?) were present, but we the people can know only few statements from them. Thirdly our experience during Covid-19 episode has proved that local experts were ignored to follow international guidelines wasting not only public resources but destroying the economy and health of people.Previously during Swine Flu episode also, it was exposed how WHO is a compromised organisation.
WHO Pandemic Treaty Does not make Epidemiological Sense:
Pandemics are driven by regional factors. These factors in turn are dictated by geography, climate, population density, demography such as age profile, health status such as obesity levels, state of health services, urbanization and migration, to name a few. For instance, in spite of similar guidelines followed by majority of countries of the world, the impact of Covid-19 differed vastly in continents
Changed Nature of WHO
How the funding which was entirely by member countries proportionate to their GDP has changed by the year 2000 to voluntary contributions which are project-based and therefore in the end funded by pharmaceutical companies as is obvious from the information given below. Thus, the policies and decisions of WHO are pharma interest driven.
“Assessed funding, currently about 20% of the WHO budget,18 is based on GDP, assessed for all 196 current member states, and agreed by the UN General Assembly.19 Most of the remaining budget is derived from voluntary contributions
While most Global Fund support comes from governments, $250 million per year comes from the BMGF.27 Similarly, other agencies such as Unitaid have arisen to fund aspects of health in WHO’s traditional area of focus.28 Of particular significance to the current WHO pandemic response are two further international agencies. In 2000, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, now ‘Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance’, was inaugurated primarily to fund vaccine procurement and dissemination to lower-income countries. Gavi is thus unashamedly a conduit linking large-scale pharmaceutical production with primarylevel healthcare. It concentrates solely on provision of vaccines, rather than on the holistic view of health envisioned by the Alma Ata Declaration. The largest contributor to Gavi has been the BMGF,
The Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework, the largest corporate-based contributor, is solely supported by pharmaceutical companies, namely Sanofi Pasteur ($55,252,737), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) ($53,132,053), Hoffmann – La Roche and Co. Ltd. ($51,073,654), Seqirus ($17,876,129) and Novartis ($15,292,743).”
( https://www.pandata.org/wp-content/uploads/PANDA_WHO_ReestablishingColonialism.pdf )
Lack of Transparancy and Public Debate over The Treaty
“A draft international pandemic treaty governing prevention, preparedness and response of future pandemics will be ready for negotiation in 18 months, said Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Swaminathan’s statement came after a working draft was presented July 21, 2022 to the INB by its bureau which compiled inputs from WHO Member States and other stakeholders, drawing from their experiences in containing the current pandemic.
“The majority of WHO member states were in favor of a legally binding instrument but there were differences on how they wanted to proceed,” according to the social enterprise that was privy to a closed-door INB meeting.
Only Russia wanted “non-legally binding recommendations” in the draft, claimed the organisation”’
( https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/governance/global-pandemic-treaty-soumya-swaminathan-promises-draft-in-18-months-84351 )
While the draft is available to read, it is not open to our comments now. There are many objectionable issues in the draft.
- First and foremost, it will be legally binding and the rules of our country will be changed accordingly or the government may just do without it brazenly.
- In the name of Pandemic preparedness, the governments are supposed to spend national resources on things that made billionaires to increase their wealth by 30% in the 2 years of Covid episode. Governments bought testing kits, PPE kits genome sequencing, vaccine and other drugs for a disease having 0.05% Infection Mortality Rate from private manufacturers. Same is emphasised in the Treaty. It will obviously be done at the cost of real health promoting expenses that the government should do for people.
- Surveillance is another important thing emphasised and it will curtail our democratic rights.
- Providing access to foreign experts will increase the external interference in our health matters.
- Regulatory authorities are to be strengthened to pass new (Not fully tested?) drugs.
- Encouraging private sectors is also mentioned. So economic affairs of our country to be advised or determined by them!
- One alarming part elaborated extensively is tackling false, misleading information or disimformation. Our experience during Covid has been that many sane voices of long experienced, senior doctors, experts in the field were censored by authorities or by media Mughals when they were against the mainstream narrative.
- Though other social factors like gender, race, etc are mentioned, there is no mention of raising socio-economic status, nutrition which are important factors to prevent infections.
- Even while mentioning the sovereignty, the draft reminds you the limitation to your sovereignty. And that will be defined by them!
“(10) Sovereignty – States have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, the sovereign right to determine and manage their approach to public health, notably pandemic prevention, preparedness and response pursuant to their own policies, and the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to other States and their peoples.”
Working draft, presented on the basis of progress achieved, for the consideration of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body at its second meeting (who.int)
Role of WHO during Swine Flu
“In a strong indictment of the World Health Organization, a report prepared for the Council of Europe has said WHO wasted large sums of public money by raising unjustified fears of a “pandemic that never really was” and expressed concern over the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on the decisions taken by it regarding the H1N1 virus outbreak.”
( http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/6013135.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst )
“National governments, WHO, and EU agencies had all been guilty of actions that led to a “waste of large sums of public money, and unjustified scares and fears about the health risks faced by the European public,” says the report.”
( https://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c3033.full )
“The step is a long-overdue move to public transparency of a “Golden Triangle” of drug corruption between WHO, the pharma industry and academic scientists that has permanently damaged the lives of millions and even caused death.”
( https://healthcare-in-europe.com/en/news/european-parliament-to-investigate-who-pandemic-scandal.html )
Our experience during Covid also reaffirms our belief to insulate ourselves from these commercial external and internal interests.
For a disease having 0.05% Infection Fatality Rate, with 67.6% of adult population already having antibodies, and 99.5% of population never getting any symptoms of Covid in entire Two Years, the vaccination drive of full adult population was started because of WHO advice, when many Indian Public Health Experts had never advised, lockdown for the whole country, vaccine for below 45 years of age. (https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/shots-for-18-44-yr-group-was-a-political-decision/articleshow/82812610.cms )
Height of ignoring Indian experts and without any transparent public debate came when vaccine roll out for children, having none whatsoever risk from Covid, was started, just because it was given in other countries, in spite of a clear NO from NTAGI. Waste of public money for injecting a substance whose long-term safety data is not known and even short-term data cannot be relied with such small sample size during Trials.
The health requirements, priorities of all countries are different depending on the climatic, cultural, economic and demographic conditions. Imposing western models on our country is Medical Imperialism and has proved damaging to our country
The signing IHR after SARS Cov (2003) was uncalled for, as a so-called highly infectious virus had infected totally 8098 persons world over and total 774 deaths, in the country of its origin, China – 5327 cases and 349 deaths. It was believed to have started in Nov, 2002 and with all the international traffic, the world came to know a few cases elsewhere also by March 2003.
But signing WHO Treaty and to formulate a Public Health Act on the basis of such international guidelines will be suicidal.
Dr. Maya Valecha, MD(Gynae) based in Vododara, Gujarat has been active in left politics since her student days. She participated actively in Nav Nirman Aandolan in Gujarat with left perspective, Actively fought communal forces in 2002 & has been a staunch feminist. She did her research work on how women’s attire is oppressive in nature.
She fiercely opposed slum Demolition without any opportunity for alternative residence & livlihood in Baroda and Surat and the struggle was waged successfully.
She left medical practice as a gynaecologist by 2000 to fully get involved in socio-political activities.
From the very onset of lockdown, on one hand she has been building public opinion for Nationalisation Socialisation of Healthcare system including drug industry and spreading the truth about Covid-19, on the other hand.