What Has the H1N1 Flu Outbreak Taught Us About International Collaboration?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
May 8, 2009
Passengers Wearing Masks Arrive in Beijing

On Thursday, May 7, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that more than 2,300 people in 24 countries had confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza. The WHO acknowledged the proactive reporting of and collaboration with the United States and Mexico to characterize the outbreak. Providing an effective response to pandemics requires close collaboration among international organizations and national governments.

What has the H1N1 flu outbreak taught us about international collaboration?



May 8, 2009

Scott writes:

The recent "pandemic" speaks more to fear and panic than "international cooperation". With increased world wide access to information and news, the entire world suddenly went into a panic mode. Mexico just declared its borders open and the epidemic "over". Of course one should be cautious, but the flu is the flu, and it comes around every year. If anything, let's hope this was a "test" of international response to the real thing.

PS: this flu, if it did originate from pigs, from an American producer, also speaks to the greed of the food industry to find ways to produce food as inexpensively as possible... often resulting in sick and infected animals, providing a perfect opportunity for new strains of disease to develope. What the world needs to do is to find more organic and healthy ways to produce its food.

E W.
California, USA
May 9, 2009

E.S.W. in California writes:

It has taught us the need for strong geoleadership more than ever.

May 9, 2009

Edite in Canada writes:

It just proves that when we all want to we can work collaboratively to solve complex problems.Containment became a great issue in this case and steps were taken to achieve just that. The previous SARS outbreak a few years back served as a prototype as to how to operate in such an event.If a real pandemic occurs later this fall with a mutated H1N1 virus that is more virulent, global co-operation will be even more necessary in order to save lives. Economic considerations will just have to take a second seat.

New York, USA
May 9, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

H1N1 has tought us:

1- Not to wait (HIV) until a disease goes global.

2- Not to deny the potential impact on all humans by linking the disease to one nation or race.

3- Not to deny clean water and good food to people's of poverty striken regions.

4- Not to politicize or race-bait on illness or diseases.

4- Understand that health or lack of health is the most powerful eco-geo-political driver. The planet is a tiny Petrie dish.

New York, USA
May 10, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Lessons Learned?

If the earth were an organism; H1 and many other pandemics would be seen as symptoms of a bio-psycho-social breakdown. Why do we continue to "treat" the symptoms? We already
know that the entire organism is in a state of Health-Crisis. Best Practice: A comprehensive global program of health; WHO must not be cowed by the politics of national or regional xenophobias or isolationism.

New Mexico, USA
May 10, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

I think what becomes self evident is that despite the huge international effort to coordinate response in medical relief and containment, fully 1/3 of the world's population will inevitably become exposed to the virus before the year is out.

We got lucky in the form it took, but that could change the instant the virus mutates into a more deadly form.

Had this been ebola or a biological weapon (accidentally or intentionally released), the draconian measures that would of neccesity be put in place in a attempt to halt the spread and save lives would challenge democracy as an institution, and the breakdown of society and economies would be very severe indeed.

Tennessee, USA
May 11, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

1. Histology from outbreak (CDC).

2. Migration-travel of people at time of year effects.

3. Ability of Governments to control outbreak civilly.

4. Information distribution effects from both Government to Free Press in each country.

5. Effects on economics in each country.

Thats a basic summary.

Florida, USA
May 12, 2009

Giovanni in Florida writes:

H1N1 virus has spread this quickly and has become pandemic, but not epidemic. The relative rapid pace at which it has enveloped the place we call home has hopefully taught us and hopefully our global leaders on how to react effectively and efficiently. More emotionally this is Earth's way to let us know that she giveth and she taketh away when she eels liketh. Another lesson hopefully, we or more importantly our world leaders could glean is that extreme,unscientifically based overreactions do far worse than good. Gathering the facts, thinking the real issues out, forming a malleable, evolving plan much like the adversary will control some matters.

Jorge M.
May 13, 2009

Jorge M. in Mexico writes:

The entire Swine Flu PR pandemic had a devastating effect on Mexico's economy. But it is in hard times true friends extend a helping hand. And for that we all Mexicans should grant recognition to the U.S., and Canada. What did Latin America do? Particularly Argentina and the once known as Our Sister Republic of Cuba took advantage of the situation to unleashed such hatred and unsupported disdain and prejudice. The same goes to France who pledged before the European Union to restrict all flights to and from Mexico. Isn't the land of Louis Pasteur supposed to be a first world nation with solid healthcare system and scientific apparatus? The only good part about the disastrous effect Swine Flu exerted on Mexico, is that we get to know who holds the quality of individuals to be admired and considered a friend.


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