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Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis

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CHEPA seminar considers: It is time to retire the World Health Organization?

16 Jan 2013

As WHO celebrates its 65th anniversary in 2013, many have raised the difficult question of whether the organization is ready for retirement.

In a seminar titled WHO at 65:  Retirement or renewal?,  Kelley Lee, Associate Dean, Research and the Director of Global Health in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University, will look at the pressures on the World Health Organization to change if it is to avoid obsolescence.

Questions about the relevance of the WHO have been posed in the context of significant changes to international health cooperation, from a relatively limited range of activities between governments, to a far broader agenda involving public and private actors.  Moreover, the demand for collective action has grown exponentially as the world has become increasingly globalized, resulting in new risks and opportunities for human health.  All of this has focused attention on the role of WHO as never before, pressuring the organization to change or face obsolescence.  

Lee’s  presentation will look back at the history of WHO, what it was created to do, what governance constraints it currently faces, and how it must change to meet the world's health needs of the 21st century.

Lee, who is also Professor of Global Health Policy at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an Associate Fellow of the Centre for Global Health Security, Chatham House, UK, researches and teaches on the impacts of globalization on communicable and non-communicable diseases, and the implications for emerging forms of global governance.

The seminar will take place on Monday January 28 in CRL B119, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend. The seminar will be available remotely for those who are unable to attend. Click here for instructions on how to listen to the presentation through Elluminate.

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