A health worker receives the Covid-19 vaccine at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila, Philippines on 29 March 2021. (©WHO/Blink Media/Hannah Reyes Morales)


By Michelle Langrand

Excerpt from: Pandemic treaty: what does (and doesn’t) the draft say? - Geneva Solutions

Nicoletta Dentico, director of the Society for International Development’s global health and justice programme, noted that “while some might hope that the treaty becomes an agreement to relaunch the  WHO unaccomplished agenda on access to medicines, it's a fact that this vision reduces the scope of the agreement to be negotiated, which is not a desirable outcome”.

Dentico regretted that while there were pages and pages on measures to prepare and respond to future global health emergencies, “prevention strategies regarding spillover events are not to be seen”.

“Antimicrobial resistance, which is the current pandemic, only has a few lines and they refer to the need to do research and development to address them,” she said. “This means they haven’t understood at all the nature of antimicrobial resistance.”

The document does open the door for collaboration with other relevant treaties such as the Biodiversity Convention or the group created in 2021 to work on the links between human health and the environment.

It also calls on governments to address drivers such as climate change and land-use change, and to develop national plans centred on a one health approach. But it doesn’t go into detail of what these measures should look like nor does it set any targets.

“There is a risk of a missed opportunity,” Dentico said. While stressing that vaccines and drugs were key to addressing health crises, she pointed out that health systems in the zero draft were addressed after medical products “in a very general definition”, calling it “totally counterintuitive”.

“This biomedical vision clashes with reality. Counter-measures don't live in isolation, they need people, the implementation of a real One Health vision, and health systems,” she said.

This is an indication of how western medicalisation of health, with the industrialisation that goes with it, has hijacked the political culture around health.

- Nicoletta Dentico