WHO criticised over swine flu

  • Deborah Condon

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said it will review its handling of the swine flu pandemic, following criticism that it exaggerated the dangers of the illness.

However such a review will not be carried out until the pandemic is over, WHO spokeswoman, Fadela Chaib, confirmed.

Over 14,000 people worldwide have died as a result of swine flu, including 22 people in Ireland. The official death rate worldwide, however, is reckoned to be a gross underestimation of th total number of deaths, according to the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC).

However a number of European politicians, including Council of Europe parliamentarian, Wolfgang Wodarg, have called for an inquiry into what they term a ‘false pandemic’. They have questioned the way the issue was handled at both national and European levels, claiming pressure from pharmaceutical companies.

The Council of Europe is due to discuss this issue later in the month. At the same time, governments across Europe are trying to offload surplus stockpiles of swine flu vaccine that they had bought to cope with the pandemic.

According to Ms Chaib, the WHO expects ‘and indeed welcomes criticism’ of its handling of the pandemic.

"In the future we will do an evaluation of our work with outside experts, in order to assess the work of WHO in the management of the pandemic influenza. Evaluation is necessary and we are open to recommendations that can improve our work. When this is over WHO will undoubtedly work with outside experts,” she added.

However Ms Chaib also acknowledged that it could be some time before the current pandemic is declared over.

For more on swine flu, click here

See also: Was swine flu a hoax?

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