Posts Tagged ‘hydroxychloroquine’

India has learnt not to rely on the WHO

April 10, 2020

The WHO leadership is complicit in the suppression of news about the coronavirus. Its guilt will be judged by history. It was warned by Taiwan in December but could not pay attention to anything that might upset China. But it is not always wise even with its advice.

India has learnt over the years to sidestep the WHO when necessary.

So far India has reported just over 7,000 cases with 229 deaths attributed to covid-19 (10th April, 2020). With a population of over 1.3 billion the fatality rate at present is 0.18 per million of population. It is very early days to be sure but, so far, the fatality rate is long from what was, and still is, feared.

As the Indian Express reports:

… when it comes to key aspects of COVID management, the government has politely sidestepped the periodic “advice” from the WHO and, instead, leaned on the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the experience of several state governments — from Kerala and Uttar Pradesh to Rajasthan and Maharashtra. …

Most recently, on April 3, the government’s advisory on the use of masks while stepping out of the house was at variance with that of the WHO, which said this should be only for those who are symptomatic, health workers, or caregivers to COVID patients.

That’s not the only point where the government veered off the WHO track.

  • On January 30, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that WHO did not recommend travel restrictions to China — in fact, it was opposed to such an idea. This despite the fact that the same day, the WHO’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee raised a global alert on the need for containment, surveillance, detection, isolation, and even contact tracing. By this time, India’s first advisory on avoiding non-essential travel to China dated January 25, was already in place.
  • Three days after the WHO statement, India advised citizens to refrain from travel to China, a step up from its earlier advisory.
  • On March 16, Ghebreyesus said that the WHO’s key message is “test test test”. On March 22, ICMR head Dr Balram Bhargava said: “There will be no indiscriminate testing. Isolation, Isolation, isolation.”
  • Hours later, India went into lockdown, starting with 75 districts and then, from midnight of March 24, the whole country. The decision was based on a paper by ICMR that quarantine is a more effective way of containing the virus than even airport screening.
  • The day after the lockdown began, WHO executive director Mike Ryan said: “Without implementing the necessary measures, without putting in place those protections, it’s going to be very difficult for the country to exit (the lockdown). And when they do, they have a resurgence and I think that’s the challenge now.”
  • WHO’s clinical care guidelines clearly lay down that there is “no current evidence to recommend any specific anti-COVID-19 treatment for patients”. India, nevertheless, first included two of its undertrial antivirals — lopinavir and ritonavir — in its clinical care guidelines for patients of the novel coronavirus disease, and then revised the management guidelines to replace the antivirals with a combination of hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin.

All the coronavirus solutions are going to be national, not global, solutions and I am quite sure that countries with effective measures will quickly inform other countries directly. They will not rely on a pampered and ineffective WHO leadership to do that.

Mumbai lockdown 9th April 2020

India has removed the ban on exports of hydroxylchloroquine to selected countries on humanitarian grounds and has sent supplies to, at least, USA, Israel, Brazil, Sri Lanka and a few others.


 


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