‘Ethical Cowardice Afflicts Global Health,’ Lancet Editor-In-Chief Argues

The Lancet: Offline: The ethical darkness of global health
Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet

“…The ethical cowardice that afflicts global health today is unacceptable. … WHO seems happy to present an award to Turkey’s President Erdoğan for his work to address non-communicable diseases, while the government represses media and imprisons journalists. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance seems comfortable accepting a donation from Saudi Arabia’s leaders without condemning the regime’s dire human rights record. And UNICEF has not been squeamish about collaborating with Myanmar’s government, despite the widespread torture, rape, and murder of the Rohingya. … The 21st century is being defined by diminished outrage and accountability. … Civilians are expendable. Ethnic cleansing is tolerated. The shame of international inaction during Rwanda’s genocide has been forgotten. The notion of a rules-based international order is no longer taken seriously. … Global health leaders must engage with all nations. But those same leaders have also turned their backs on some of the world’s gravest atrocities. Smiling and shaking hands with representatives from murderous regimes is one way of doing global health. But it is a way that will end with the normalization of indecency, inhumanity, and slaughter” (7/20).