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World Health Organization


Norms and Standards

"setting norms and standards and promoting and monitoring their implementation"

This is partially correct. The WHO organization publishes something called the "Technical Report Series" since approximately 1948. WHO also publishes other standards and guidelines in selected subjects. However, how effective are they? If we estimate the total number of standards, guidelines, recommendations and so on in any subject that the WHO has published since inception, the obtained number is in the order of 2000. Pretty impressive, isn't it? Well, actually no. For comparison purposes, let's assume that all WHO standards ever created are still current (ridiculous, of course, since WHO was created in 1948 or 66 years ago but let's play). We can compare this number to current only ISO standards (19500) or current only ASTM standards (12500), or current only GOST standards (20000) and so on. Not so impressive any longer, isn't it?

Of course, there is always the excuse that the WHO is not a standardization organization and as such it is unfair to compare it with such entities. This is correct. The WHO has no business whatsoever doing standards. It is not a standardization organization. Furthermore, there is no need to use WHO standards. Standards evolve from the commercial needs of people. If there is a need there are going to be volunteers writing standards. If there is no need, there will be no standards. Economic efficiency at its peak. All standardization organizations have proven this ad-nauseum. Think of it this way, if a standard cannot be applied to a commercial product or service, why do you want it at all? It serves no purpose. Yet, for the WHO economic efficiency does not matter. They ram through with the creation of standards whether they matter or not (commercially). These standards are mostly used by governments to regulate industry or (maybe) to determine policies. In other words, a complete and utter waste of time and money, your money. Sometimes these standards are used for research, but the same principle applies. If a standard is useful in research there will be volunteers writing those standards. There is no need for WHO whatsoever.

And who writes WHO standards? Volunteers. Why would anybody write standards for WHO? WHO knows? (pun intended). We can think of many reasons, one of the most important ones is that by so doing an organization gets the coveted WHOCC denomination. As this denomination is "prestigious", it is easy for them to get grants… from the government. In other words, they do so to get the government to give them more of your money. What is inescapable is that if a standard is needed, there are plenty of standardization NGO's (non-government organizations) out there that gladly accept volunteers. As such, if the WHO would not exist, those standards (if truly needed) would have been captured by other organizations.

And how about "promoting" WHO standards? Well, how about it? WHO is using those standards? (pun intended). We are certainly at a loss to point to a single corporation anywhere in the world that uses WHO standards because they are superior to other standards. There must be some "out there" but we were unable to find any. Some organizations do it because otherwise they can't sell to governments or because they are demanded by governments through regulations and lastly some organizations (WHOCC) do it because they are under contract, but that's about it. WHO standards are usually not in anybody's horizon of use if there is another option, and options there are. Point in case is that the widespread of WHO standards is tiny at best. Considering that they had 66 years to promote them, we are most certainly not impressed.

And how about "monitoring their implementation"? Well, short of auditing WHOCC's it is hard to determine how the WHO is actually monitoring anything. They must have some sound method…we think… perhaps? The WHO wouldn't exaggerate to you, right? Noooooo… that could never happen…


"articulating ethical and evidence-based policy options"

It never ceases to astonish us how many people that are not us believe that their duty is to pass decisions for us. Although it is true that the WHO has a rather large so-called ethics department or division or something, bombastically titled the Global Health Ethics Unit this department or division or something solves exactly zero ethical problems. This is not to say that they don't answer questions, publish papers and issue opinions; this they do. However, they solve nothing. You see, dear reader, ethical problems are insoluble by definition. If anyone of those so-called ethicists would have actually bothered remembering their Philosophy 101 course that was mandatory in college, they would realize that what they are doing in utterly pointless. Ethics are simply different schools of thought which define "what is best for us". That's correct, there are many ethical theories all different from each other, all arbitrarily defining what is best and there is no way to determine which one is correct and which one is in error. Therefore and by definition all ethical decisions are purely personal and subjective, exactly like economic actions. As such, the only person in the world that is eminently qualified to determine what is ethical and what is not in your case is…well…you! All those ethical committees and organizations and departments, divisions, units, experts, etc. operate their little ethics kingdoms within the current political view, which is socialist. Even if you believe in socialism they are still eminently disqualified to issue ethical opinions (or worse, mandates) on your person simply because Social Contracts Are A Scam and at the end of the day the WHO is not a government. Not to say anything about the fact that even within socialism you still have the freedom to make a few choices (although not too many - theoretically).

And so the idea that somebody can actually "articulate ethical… policy options" within the implied context that they are actually meaningful is plainly ridiculous! Of course it sounds impressive and very politically correct which means that there is job security for WHO bureaucrats in this niche. Not to mention the fact that the average person would not be able to discern one ethics school from the next one even it bites them in the ass, chews one finger off and spit them in the face. Ignorance is bliss… for bureaucrats.

As to the idea that it is possible to articulate "evidence-based policy options" we need to ask ourselves, in what context? You see, the problem is not to measure a health issue or to determine the efficacy of a treatment or policy; these are all objective metrics that can be obtained. The problem is to determine "policy options". These "options" change dramatically depending upon which political system you operate in. The more communist the system the more government spending will those "options" include. The more "conservative" the system, the more "private enterprising" recommendations will those "options" provide. Therefore given the very same quantitative data (i.e. the "evidence") it is possible to develop radically opposite "policy options", fact that obviously nullifies all the evidence since it has no bearing on the proposals to begin with! All that matters is the political bias prevalent at the time. As such, the concept of "evidence-based" sounds impressive but it is utterly meaningless. Yes, it is possible to fine-tune policies within a fixed and specific political context (e.g. socialism) based on quantitative data, but then again, what is the point? The WHO is supposed to be making these recommendations based on evidence, which hints that they are somewhat objective, but how objective is the WHO if by definition bends to the current political climate without taking into consideration other political systems that could or would be more effective? It's all a joke and the joke is on you!

Technical support

"providing technical support"

Yes. Let's not forget the "technical support". Let's not.

As we have explained above, the WHO has no large technical expertise of its own. Almost all of their technical experts are…well…not their employees. They are "cooperating" in "partnerships" or "volunteers". And so, how is it possible that an organization mostly void of technical experts is capable of providing "technical support"? Well, it can't. At least not within the normal interpretation of the sentence. Technical support is translated by the average person as scientific know-how, yet most of the scientists related to the WHO are not its employees! Sure, the WHO can "co-ordinate efforts" and "streamline opportunities" for "synergistic activities" between "subject matter experts" in a given "field of study". Which essentially means that the WHO is sort of a scientific dating agency. The only problem is, you don't date with the agency, you date with a person! It is true that in very narrow fields the WHO may actually be able to provide its own experts to support a project, but this is more of the exception than the rule. Is then this sentence "slightly" exaggerated? Will leave this answer to you.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

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