Global Health

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What Does the Monkeypox Outbreak Tell Us about Global Health Governance? Critical Remarks on the New WHO Declaration of Public Health Emergency of International Concern

On 23 July 2022, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (“WHO”) declared that the outbreak of monkeypox constitutes a public health emergency of international concern (“PHEIC”). Under Art. 1 of the 2005 International Health Regulations (“IHRs”), a PHEIC means “an extraordinary event which is determined […] (i) to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and (ii) to potentially require a coordinated international response”. This act represents the culmination of the collective surveillance system established by the IHRs, as it means that a global health threat has been identified and, therefore, States Parties must adopt the necessary countermeasures, keeping with temporary recommendations issued by the Director-General under Art. 15 IHRs. Against this backdrop, the present post is aimed at highlighting some critical issues related not only to the PHEIC declaration but, more generally, to global health governance, as designed by the IHRs and the WHO Constitution (see Gostin, p. 175 ff.;…

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The far-reaching US proposals to amend the International Health Regulations at the upcoming 75th World Health Assembly: A call for attention

The upcoming 75th World Health Assembly (WHA) to be held in Geneva from 22-28th May 2022 will potentially adopt far-reaching amendments to the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR). The IHR is currently the most important multilateral treaty regulating the global architecture for health emergency, preparedness, response and resilience (HEPR…

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Inadequate State Response to Protect Life and Health in Times of COVID-19 as a Violation of Human Rights Obligations – the Example of Poland

While the fourth wave of COVID-19 pandemics flows over Europe and other continents, States undertake different steps and measures aimed at minimizing the spread of the virus. Many countries and regions introduced the requirement of COVID certificates/passes, while some plan to implement mandatory vaccinations at least for certain occupations. These measures have spurred discussions of…

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Covid Passes and Non-Discrimination

Today the British Parliament will decide on whether England will follow other parts of the UK – and many other states – in requiring the use of Covid passes (passports, certificates) to access certain public venues and services. Public debates surrounding the introduction of such passes frequently turn on their real or supposed discriminatory effects. It is black…

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The Role of the Right to Health in a “Hidden” Pandemic: Antimicrobial Resistance

Last week, UK health officials declared that a "hidden pandemic" of antibiotic-resistant infections could soon threaten human health and lives. More cold symptoms are expected this winter, due to an increase in social mixing, but the UK Health Security Agency warn against premature and inadequate use of antibiotics. However, this menace is not new and not…

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