LONDON: As the World Health Organisation convenes its emergency committee meeting on Thursday to consider if the spiraling outbreak of monkeypox warrants being declared a global emergency, some experts say WHO’s decision to act only after the disease spilled into the West could entrench the grotesque inequities that arose between rich and poor countries during the coronavirus pandemic.
Declaring monkeypox to be a global emergency would mean the UN health agency considers the outbreak to be an “extraordinary event” and that the disease is at risk of spreading across even more borders. It would also give monkeypox the same distinction as the Covid pandemic and the ongoing effort to eradicate polio.
Many scientists doubt any such declaration would help to curb the epidemic, since the developed countries recording the most recent cases are already moving quickly to shut it down.
Last week, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described the recent monkeypox epidemic identified in more than 40 countries, mostly in Europe, as “unusual and concerning.”