WHO governs? Limited global governance by the World Health Organization during the SARS outbreak
Did the World Health Organization's response to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome represent a radical change in global health governance? The short answer is no. Granted, some scholars have argued that global health governance was radically transformed because WHO appeared to exercise unprecedented power and change state behaviour regarding SARS. Yet global governance by WHO was actually of limited content and consequence during this outbreak. State and local governments, in contrast, governed the most important public health actions, namely medical treatment and infection control. While these findings may curtail optimism about global governance, they have important implications for understanding the international response to transnational outbreaks of infectious diseases.
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