Thursday, March 3, 2011

Globalization and Health: "Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome case study"

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a respiratory disease in humans which is caused by the SARS coronavirus . Originally, SARS spread from the Guangdong province of China to rapidly infect individuals up to 37 countries around the world through international communication and flights. It is a typical case demonstrated that how a local government responds to a crisis is intrinsically linked with the ways in which the local government is constituted in the global discourse, which in turn also influence the global policies and reactions to it.
Because of the exposure of the media worldwide, China and the whole south Asia’s reputation were damaged. The traveling business was hugely decreased. Most of the international flights were cancelled due to the disease. And here, we could not miss the role of WHO in the whole process of this disease: gave highly attention and support, for example, network was set up for doctors and researchers dealing with SARS; airline passengers were requested to screen for the symptoms of SARS. Along with the help and the pressure from the WHO, Chinese government reacted fully to this disease. From my personal experience, most of the main cities in China was in panic during the spreading of the SARS, the transportation inside or between the cities were highly suppressed. Most of the University were recessed and closed, students took their temperatures daily and free personal oral digital thermometers were available.
Not only China, other countries like Japan and Singapore also made a lot of policy change due to the WTO discipline. Here is one example: “On 23 April 2003, the WHO advised against all but essential travel to Toronto, noting that a small number of persons from Toronto appear to have ‘exported’ SARS to other parts of the world. Toronto public health officials noted that only one of the supposedly exported cases had been diagnosed as SARS and that new SARS cases in Toronto were originating only in hospitals. Nevertheless, the WHO advisory was immediately followed by similar advisories by several governments to their citizens. On 29 April WHO announced that the advisory would be withdrawn on 30 April. Toronto tourism suffered as a result of the WHO advisory, prompting The Rolling Stones and others to organize the massive Molson Canadian Rocks for Toronto concert, commonly known as SARSstock, to revitalize the city's tourism trade.”

No comments: