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Global governance of the new outbreak: technical or political?

There have been two recent outbreaks of information that have attracted people’s attention. One is the Gulf Times of the United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has approved the use of a new crown inactivated vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group, which is undergoing clinical trials in the country. Dr. navar alkabi, chairman of the UAE national new coronavirus clinical management committee, said that the clinical trial of the new crown vaccine “is on the right path, and all trials have been successful so far ”。

The other is novel coronavirus pneumonia, which is reported in 15 days. The India is in a state of “anoxic” emergency due to the surge in confirmed cases of new crown pneumonia. BBC reported that the new situation of “acute hypoxia” was in the state of emergency in. If not surprisingly, India will soon overtake the United States as the world’s largest number of confirmed cases of the new outbreak.

The new epidemic is becoming more and more serious all over the world, and its negative impact on the economic and social life of all mankind may be no less than that during the great depression. At this very moment, people need to abandon ideological and emotional recriminations, and focus on how to strengthen the institutional framework of global public health governance through rational cooperation.

Among all the tools available, technological progress is one of the most important tools for global public health governance. By giving full play to the governance dividend of technological progress, including epidemic monitoring, information sharing, cooperative research, etc., the current new epidemic situation and other possible outbreaks in the future will be better controlled.

However, the dividend of technological progress cannot be realized without the support of good global governance system, which is also a major challenge facing all countries at present. Only by establishing the “de ideological” technical route, forming a higher degree of political mutual trust and responsibility sharing mechanism, and building a normalized global cooperative governance mechanism, can human society make up for the defects of global management and overcome the possible global disaster biological risk events at present and in the future.

Globalization of public health governance

The medical and health undertakings can be roughly divided into two parts. One is medical treatment, that is, medical measures for individuals are generally carried out in medical institutions, such as hospitals and clinics; the other is health, which is the public health measures aimed at the community and society, so it is also called public health. Public health governance is related to the public health of the majority of people, including the prevention, monitoring and treatment of major diseases, especially infectious diseases (such as covid-19, SARS, tuberculosis, AIDS, etc.), supervision and control of food, drugs and public environmental sanitation, as well as relevant health publicity, health education, immunization, etc.

As one of the most important contents of public health governance, infectious diseases caused by catastrophic biological risk have the attribute of global spread. This kind of global catastrophic biological risk is caused by biological media (such as virus), but the existing public health and medical system is difficult to deal with effectively, resulting in a large number of deaths and global economic and social unrest.

For example, in the 6th century, the pestilence caused by Yersinia pestis entered Constantinople from North Africa to France and Germany, killing 17% of the world’s population at that time; in the 14th century, the black death caused by Yersinia pestis also entered Europe from Asia, killing 30% – 60% of the population in Europe at that time; in 1918, the pandemic influenza killed 20-50 million people worldwide. At present, the number of deaths due to the new epidemic has exceeded 930000.

Because infectious diseases caused by catastrophic biological risk are easy to spread in the world, public health governance is no longer a domestic, small regional problem, but a transnational, cross regional global governance problem. The global public health governance with infectious disease prevention and control as the core content can not be properly solved by any individual country. It requires all countries and regions to unite to safeguard the common interests of global mankind.

In the past half century, with the advancement of economic globalization, the communication between countries in the world has become increasingly frequent, the economic interdependence has gradually deepened, the information media has become more and more developed, and the externalities caused by public health problems, especially the infectious diseases caused by catastrophic biological risks, have increased dramatically, leading to the increasingly serious global public health security problems.

In retrospect, global public health governance has experienced three stages. The first stage was from the middle and late 19th century to 1948, when international transportation became popular. The free flow of people and goods increased the risk of cross-border spread of infectious diseases. Therefore, governments of various countries strengthened border quarantine to prevent and control infectious diseases. Ten international health conferences were held from 1851 to 1900. In 1902, 12 countries attended the first health assembly in Washington, D.C., which led to the birth of the Pan American health service.

Although the above-mentioned international conferences and the international laws promulgated reflect the international cooperation in public health governance to a certain extent, these cooperation has no substantive content, which is mainly limited to the coordination and unification of border quarantine and quarantine, and each country has not really jumped out of its own trap.

The second stage is from the establishment of who in 1948 to 2003. Shortly after the end of the Second World War, the World Health Organization was established. This international organization under the framework of the United Nations is committed to leading global public health governance. The World Health Assembly under its organization adopted the international public health regulations in 1950. This is the first regulation under the United Nations system to regulate the spread of infectious diseases in the form of international law. The regulation was amended to the international health regulations in 1969

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