Tuesday, May 06, 2003

WHO goes there?

Hat tip to Parapundit.

"The World Health Organisation (WHO) met with Taiwan officials for the first visit time in 30 years, underlining the seriousness of an outbreak that killed two more on the island on Monday.

In a sign that politics was being put aside -- at least temporarily -- to combat the growing spread of SARS, two doctors from the WHO arrived in Taipei on Saturday for a landmark 13-day visit that was approved by China." -- Reuters

As Randall Parker points out, this is a situation where a country which originated an epidemic now graciously allows an international health organization to visit a nation which it infected. Yet, from a medical point of view, Taiwan did not need WHO help, as it has the disease under far better control than the nation which gave the WHO 'permission' to help the island. Taiwan's motives were largely political: it viewed the WHO invitation as an opportunity to bolster its international legitimacy.

Now I know the "world" is doing everything possible to stamp out the spread of this dread disease; that there exists a core of dedicated international civil servants who will take any risk, endure any hardship to bring help to the afflicted; that we must put aside all racial, political and religious differences for the sake of the children. By the way, there's bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you if you are interested.