Unfortunately not. Today’s world is facing a situation where the spread of diseases across borders may affect countries’ economies and stability. It can also change the customs of the local inhabitants. Treatment can only be guaranteed if states cooperate more in the prevention and alleviation of disease. The World Health Organization is the forum for such cooperation, and Estonia is increasingly contributing to its work.
This double issue of Diplomaatia is about health, disease and the cooperation between states. Tiina Intelmann, Head of the European Union Delegation in Liberia, describes how Ebola has affected the security and economy of Liberia.
“When I arrived in Liberia in 2014 as the head of the European Union delegation, the situation was sad,” says Intelmann. “A curfew had been imposed; schools, universities and most public offices were closed. In order to buy a loaf of bread, you first had to wash your hands with chlorine solution and prove that you did not have a fever; only then were you allowed to enter the shop.”.
Ilona Kickbush, an internationally renowned global health expert, gives an overview of the fight against Ebola across the world. Zsuzsanna Jakab, the WHO Regional Director for Europe, writes about healthcare policy in Europe.
Kristel Lõuk, a diplomat at the Permanent Mission of Estonia to the UN, explores the Millennium Development Goals, while her colleague Taavo Lumiste at the Estonian mission in Geneva outlines the active role of Estonia in the WHO. In a joint article, Jarno Habicht, the WHO representative in Moldova, and Marge Reinap, his colleague in Estonia, write about why it is important to get acquainted with the network of WHO representations around the world.
Ain Aaviksoo, Deputy Secretary General at the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs, thinks that implementing e-health in Estonia means a revolution in healthcare since patients can get more involved in deciding their treatment. Professor Andres Metspalu introduces the Estonian Genome Center, and Doctor Kuulo Kutsar writes about the international battle against infectious diseases.
Srikanth Reddy, an internationally renowned medical researcher, provides a historical overview of the Spanish flu that raged around the world after World War I. Reddy writes: “The 20th century witnessed three influenza pandemics: in 1918 (Spanish flu), 1951 (“Asian flu”) and 1968 (“Hong Kong flu”). Of these, the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic was considered the most devastating in modern human history.”