TEPHINET and the WHO: An Invaluable Partnership

It is impossible to overstate the vital role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the global governance of health and disease by establishing, monitoring and enforcing international norms and standards that benefit every nation in the world, including the United States, which earlier this week gave a formal notification that it would withdraw from the WHO in a year’s time.

TEPHINET considers our partnership with WHO to be invaluable and irrevocable. Along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Merieux Foundation, the WHO supported the establishment of TEPHINET in 1997, and it provides funding and technical support to several Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs) around the world. Since the inception of the TEPHINET Advisory Board, one seat has been reserved for a non-voting liaison from the WHO. TEPHINET collaborates with GOARN, a WHO network, to train and mobilize FETP alumni to respond to health emergencies. The TEPHINET Secretariat relies upon the commitment and expertise of our WHO technical partners across numerous programs and initiatives, including, but not limited to, the execution of the recommendations made in the Global Field Epidemiology Roadmap, which the WHO helped develop.

Our parent organization, The Task Force for Global Health, has signed a petition to express its support for the WHO and the vital role it plays. We echo The Task Force’s concern for both the short-term consequences during the pandemic and long-term consequences for global public health of diminished U.S. support for the WHO, which is needed more today than ever before.