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As Global Institutions Undergo Leadership Transitions, WHO, U.N., World Bank Must Foster Solidarity For Global Health

Health Affairs: Global Health: A Pivotal Moment Of Opportunity And Peril
Lawrence O. Gostin, professor and faculty director, and Eric A. Friedman, project leader of the Platform for a Framework Convention on Global Health, both at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University

“A growing tide of populism in Europe and the United States, combined with other factors, threatens the solidarity upon which the global health movement is based. The highest-profile example of the turn toward populism is U.S. president-elect Donald Trump, whose proposals would redefine U.S. engagement in global health, development, and environmental efforts. In this challenging landscape, three influential global institutions — the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and the World Bank — are undergoing leadership transitions. This new global health leadership should prioritize global health security, including antimicrobial resistance, health system strengthening, and action on mass migration and climate change. … The immense health threats facing the world would challenge health leaders under any circumstances. Yet the gains of nationalist politicians diametrically opposed to the solidarity that global health and the right to health require place even greater demands on the World Health Organization, the United Nations, and the World Bank. These institutions have a special responsibility to foster that solidarity. One way to do so, with the WHO and the U.N. in the lead, is to mobilize the world around a powerful vision of rights and equity that would embed the right to health in national and global health governance. At a time of international discord and distrust, such an initiative ‘would bring countries together in a common venture for global health — and help heal a fractured world'” (January 2017).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.