By S. Abeysinghe
Pandemics, technological know-how and coverage analyses the realm overall healthiness Organisation's (WHO) administration of the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic. Abeysinghe illustrates the ways that the who is account was once susceptible to contestation, and finally how doubtful dangers can impact coverage and motion at the international point.
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Extra resources for Pandemics, Science and Policy: H1N1 and the World Health Organization
Fukuda, 26/04/09) and that ‘What we need most of all, right now, is information . . [which] helps us assess and manage risks’ (Chan, 18/05/09). Information was viewed as a critical resource in dealing with infectious disease threats. The WHO’s suggestions regarding the need for information can be understood in the context of Beck’s theorization that a ‘risk’ is fundamentally characterized by a perceived lack of scientiﬁc certainty (Beck, 1992). This is furthered by the co-productionist claim that a consensus upon scientiﬁc data is difﬁcult to attain surrounding a risk.
Fukuda, 14/02/10) 44 Pandemics, Science and Policy This demonstrates that the WHO’s attempts to link H1N1 to severity were ineffective given the actual nature of the disease. As a result, the WHO attempted to mobilize a depiction of pandemic inﬂuenza which suggested that such events are not necessarily severe. Pandemics, here, are presented as lying on a spectrum of severity. Such statements served to mobilize the argument that preparatory actions remain of vital importance (by pointing out the variability of severity) while co-opting a growing account that the impact of the H1N1 virus may not be great.
Severity was thus radically reconceptualized from a black-boxed characteristic which was clear and investigable to a contested characteristic which was complex and impossible to measure. The abandonment of ‘severity’ is also demonstrated in the WHO’s attempts through the later stages of the pandemic to suggest that Risk and Scientiﬁc Uncertainty 45 pandemic events are in fact often mild – that is, that severity is not an important or deﬁning characteristic of a pandemic. This suggestion that severity does not determine whether a disease constitutes a pandemic was reinforced through references to historical events.
Pandemics, Science and Policy: H1N1 and the World Health Organization by S. Abeysinghe