As human societies enter the twenty first century, healthcare has become the world’s number one social-economical issue parallel to the hunger and poverty problems that still may exist in some pockets of the world. As the most populated nation in the world, China has made remarkable progress in lifting hundreds of millions of her citizens above the U.N. defined poverty line. As expected, for any nation which has eliminated the hunger and poverty issues, the most critical national priority should be healthcare since it is concerned with the well being of a nation’s entire population from infants to youth, adults and retired seniors. In the more economically developed nations, healthcare for senior population is more critical because aging of population seems to be going hand in hand with success of economic development. Today, in general, the wealthier nations tend to have more resources and technology available in nutrition, medicine and health maintenance areas. The U.S. is one of the wealthiest nations possessing most of the advanced medical technologies and pharmaceutical industries. Certainly the U.S. is a world leader in healthcare from technology point of view. However, healthcare, perhaps much more so than hunger and poverty, is a global issue especially when a pandemic disease breaks out.
The World Health Organization (WHO) was established on April 7, 1948 after WW II. WHO has a vision statement: “All people everywhere will have access to a skilled, motivated and supported health worker, within a robust health system.” The mission statement of WHO is “to advocate and catalyze global and country actions to resolve the human resources for health crisis, to support the achievement of the health-related millennium development goals and health for all.” WHO also has a mission to publish and disseminate scientifically rigorous public health information of international significance that enables policy-makers, researchers and practitioners to be more effective; it aims to improve health, particularly among the disadvantaged populations.” Therefore, it is important for any nation and territory to join the WHO. It is sad to see that the political party in power in Taiwan would place an unrealistic political goal above the healthcare of the people in Taiwan by insisting using an independent nation status, which the U.N. does not recognize, to enter WHO rather than accepting WHO’s designated regional name, Taipei. By and large, the people living in Taiwan share the same blood, DNA types, culture, language and culinary customs with the people in the mainland of China. From human healthcare point of view, it is so advantageous for Taiwan Chinese to join WHO and to have access to and share the healthcare data/information with mainland Chinese.
The current leader of WHO is Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Dr. Tedros was elected as WHO Director-General for a five-year term by WHO Member States at the Seventieth World Health Assembly in May 2017. He is the first WHO Director-General to have been elected from multiple candidates by the World Health Assembly, and is the first person from the WHO African Region to serve as the chief technical and administrative officer of WHO. Immediately after taking office on 1 July 2017 Dr Tedros outlined five key visionary priorities for the Organization: 1. universal health coverage, 2. health emergencies, 3. women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health, 4. health impacts of climate and environmental change, and 5. a transformed WHO. Dr. Tedros has a rich experience in healthcare, diplomacy and administration with distinguished services as Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012–2016 and as Ethiopia’s Minister of Health from 2005–2012, where he led a comprehensive reform of the country’s health system investing in critical health infrastructure, expanding its health workforce, and developing innovative health financing mechanisms. Dr Tedros holds a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Community Health from the University of Nottingham and a Master of Science (MSc) in Immunology of Infectious Diseases from the University of London. Dr Tedros is most qualified to serve the WHO as a globally recognized health scholar, researcher, and diplomat with first-hand experience in research, operations, and leadership in emergency responses to epidemics. He was honored and awarded the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award in recognition of his contributions to the field of public health in 2011.
The recent breakout of the corona virus, COVID-19, has caught the world by surprise. It was first discovered in Wuhan, China. No one had foresight how it would develop. The Chinese officials after recognizing its serious impact made decisive policy actions by closing and quarantining the city of 14 million residents, an unprecedented deed. Since Wuhan’s closure, China was under tremendous pressure managing the epidemic disease and media criticism from all over the world, especially from the U.S., first to withdraw American expatriates and to restrict travelers between China and the U.S. Dr. Tedros, who examined how China was effectively managing this corona-virus breakout, was the only public figure to give praise to China’s leaders in their effort in containing the breakout. As of today, the actual corona-virus infected cases has been controlled in China with no new occurrence. China’s quick and decisive actions (such as quarantining the entire Hubei province, providing preventive measures like wearing masks and testing unsparingly, disinfecting environment, building a couple of 1000-bed hospitals in ten days and organizing tens of thousands voluntary medical professionals from other provinces to aid Hubei) not only calmed the citizens but also cured and released tens of thousand patients as a result. Although, China’s over all national healthcare system may not be on par with that of the top advanced nations, but this corona-virus breakout demonstrated the ability of China's leaders in health crisis management and how robust China’s healthcare system is to handle emergency in medical care particularly in a pandemic situation.
On the other hand, the leaders of the Western advanced nations including the U.S. apparently have made some judgment errors letting the corona virus breaking out of control. China’s rigorous containment and broad scale testing which not only curtailed the spread of the virus in China, but also bought precious time for the rest of the would to take caution and to prepare for solutions. Unfortunately, the leaders missed the opportunity, now they are facing grave consequences (Italy’s death/confirmed cases have reached 4943/64,059, surpassing China’s death toll 3292/81340, France, Spain and the U.S. have 1696/29155, 4934/64059 and 1384/93329 respectively, as of 3-27-2020). Of course, we should not make sweeping conclusions before we as a world body conquere this corona-virus caused pandemic. However, just following the above numbers and their growing trend, we can say a lot about the leadership of the countries in managing this pandemic disease. China, with her stabilizing condition, is extending her helping hand to Italy, Spain and others with medical supply aid, health data/information and her pandemic disease management experiences. It is now obvious even to a layman that the U.S. should collaborate with China immediately in managing this COVID-19 pandemic disease and in development of its vaccine. Any bragging of “We are the best and we have the most advanced medical technology” is not a substitute for China's successful COVID-19 containment experience. Furthermore, any rhetoric such as blaming China and calling this virus, Chinese virus, is extremely unfair and discriminatory to China and the Chinese, especially in view of the fact that scientific studies had identified at least five different “family” of the COVID-19 virus breaking out all over the world. Some family strains and their infected cases have no relation to the strain discovered in China. What China has contributed in stemming the propagation of this disease is commendable. All world leaders should recognize that and be humble to seek collaboration and to work closely together in order to defeat this human enemy.