Confusion and delays beset WHO’s management of H1N1 pandemic

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 06 October 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5534
  1. John Zarocostas
  1. 1Geneva

The World Health Organization’s management of the swine flu pandemic last year was thwarted by a confusing number of definitions of a pandemic and delays in producing and distributing vaccines, says an investigative panel.

Harvey Fineberg, chairman of the external review committee looking into WHO’s handling of the pandemic, told reporters, “There are multiple ways people have elected to define and describe what they mean by a pandemic.”

Dr Fineberg said that once the committee’s investigation is complete it will consider making recommendations for the future, in terms that included, “at the minimum, clarity, consistency, and practicality.”

In testimony Margaret Chan, WHO’s director general, admitted that the …

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