Good Who, Bad WHO

Good Who, Bad WHO

I am finishing Who I Am by Pete Townshend, read by the author, and listening to the Who with a new understanding of the songs. It does reinforce my contention that the Who is the greatest band of all time. Normally I would recognize that there could be counter arguments to the conclusions in these blog entry. Not this time. Greatest. Ever.

The other WHO that wanders into my field of vision? Not so much.

The WHO was not exemplary in their response to Ebola. Their slow response perhaps led to more deaths than were necessary. What many Ebola patients die of is lack of fluid: severe diarrhea and vomiting and no ability to replace the fluids. Pictures, especially in the early epidemic, were striking for wards filled with dying people and not a single iv to been seen. It was lack of basic (for the US) medical supplies that gave ebola such a horrific mortality rate.

They didn’t need Traditional Medicine. In fact reliance on traditional healers helped spread the disease, killing the healers as well.

The resistance they met from villagers underscores a little-understood dynamic in the Ebola epidemic: Healers in parts of Africa—both herbal and faith-based— are often more highly regarded than those who come to promote more unfamiliar forms of medical care.

In that credibility gap, Ebola has flourished.

What the undeveloped nations needs is basic health services (clean water, vaccines, sanitation etc) not magic and pseudo-medicine.

Tell that to the WHO. The have published the WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy. 2013–2023 term plan to help ensure that the lessons of ebola and traditional medicine are ignored and the opportunity for death and contagion are institutionalized.

The WHO has never been particularly reality based when it comes to pseudo-medicine. Their report on acupuncture has been accurately described as

a highly flawed pro-acupuncture piece of propaganda, not a scientific review of evidence. It was worthless in 1996, and now it has the added burden of being outdated.

As my wife likes to say, if you want to predict future behavior, look at past behavior.

The plan is a 75 page plan to further promote Traditional and Complementary Medicine. Their reason? The usual: it is popular and growing and there is a need for regulation and protection.

They want to provide

“traditional medicines, of proven quality, safety, and efficacy, contribute to the goal of ensuring that all people have access to care.

That’s the issue isn’t it? As is often noted, if it is of proven quality, safety, and efficacy we call it medicine. Most traditional and complementary medicines fail on all the criteria.

They do note some risks:

Described risks associated with T&CM products, practitioners and self-care:

  • Use of poor quality, adulterated or counterfeit products;
  • Unqualified practitioners;
  • Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to use effective conventional treatments;
  • Exposure to misleading or unreliable information;
  • Direct adverse events, side effects or unwanted treatment interactions.

But forget the most important risk. T&CMs do not work. They say

WHO’s mission is to help save lives and improve health. In terms of T&CM,

WHO promotes these functions by:

  • facilitating integration of T&CM into national health systems by helping Member States to develop their own national policies in this sector;
  • producing guidelines for T&CM by developing and providing international standards, technical guidelines and methodologies for research into products, practices and practitioners;
  • stimulating strategic research into T&CM by providing support for clinical
    research projects on its safety and effectiveness;
  • advocating the rational use of T&CM through the promotion of its evidence based use;
  • and mediating information on T&CM by acting as a clearing-house to facilitate information exchange.

Somehow promoting useless pseudo-medicine and saving lives/improving health would seem to me to be conflicting goals.

Then I’ll get on my knees and pray

We don’t get fooled again

Don’t get fooled again

No, no!

Meet the new boss

Same as the old boss

or maybe the WHO had My Generation in mind.

Points of Interest 2/12/2015
Points of Interest