On June 10, the World Health Organization (WHO) took to twitter to make sure the world heard their side regarding the recent critical reports about WHO's response toward swine flu (H1N1 pandemic).
"WHO takes the issues and concerns" published independently by both the British journal BMJ and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) "...seriously and wishes to set the record straight on several points."
At the root of the controversy is the Council of Europe's declaration that swine flu was an "unjustified scare" caused by the WHO and others (numerous national governments and EU agencies).
The WHO responded to clarify specific mistakes and ensure that swine flu was not about industry profits, acknowledging oversights and underscored that the media fueled fear with language from a past [not current] WHO document from 2003 on their site and early studies.
The international response also includes:
- five points addressing "is [swine flu] a genuine pandemic?"
- expresses the intent to be more transparent with Emergency Committees' (EC) members in the future and will publically release the swine flu EC members once the pandemic ends
- highlights that WHO recommended various measures to prevent the spread of swine flu ( hand washing, respiratory hygiene, not travelling or going to work when ill, and advice on the clinical care of patients and the use of antiviral drugs and vaccines)
- shares evidence that supports a role for antiviral drugs during an influenza pandemic
- regrets that experts involved with the WHO meeting held in 2002 on influenza vaccines and antiviral drugs had ‘undeclared' ties to industry.
For the complete brief, go to: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/notes/briefing_20100610/en/index.html