The role of the World Health Organization in confronting the spread of the Corona pandemic

Prepared by the researcher: Muhammad Shaban Abdulaziz – specialist in international relations

  • Arab Democratic Center

an introduction:

The international community, especially international organizations, is interested in various human activities, including those that usually pass within the exclusive domestic legal jurisdiction of countries, such as general health and the process of treating epidemics and pandemics, and working to reduce or limit them.

The process of preventing epidemics is a common concern and there is a disparity in the capabilities of countries in facing these epidemics as a result of many factors, including poverty and weak health systems, but the practical reality, after the experience of Corona, proved the fragility of many health systems around the world, which calls for searching for new ways to deal with The problem and setting up a set of legal procedures that lead to organizing society and following instructions that would reduce the rates of Corona virus.

At the beginning of January of this year, China informed the World Health Organization about an outbreak of Covid disease (19), after which the organization announced thousands and millions of confirmed cases of infection with the virus outside China and in many regions of the world, and accordingly the virus was described by the organization as a pandemic and considered an emergency. International.

A series of measures and strict measures similar in one way or another have been taken among many countries of the world in order to put an end to the spread of the virus, with the possibility of imposing severe criminal penalties in the event of resisting these measures and preventive measures.

The study is concerned with the World Health Organization, which is considered one of the most important international institutions concerned with human health, especially since the spread of the Corona virus is the responsibility of the international community as a whole, and the World Health Organization is one of its most important pillars in the health field [1] .

The study gains its importance by examining and analyzing the legal measures and measures taken by the World Health Organization to confront the outbreak of the Coronavirus.

The WHO study was chosen as the main international benchmark concerned with confronting epidemics and diseases, the most important of which is Corona virus.

International legal framework for fighting epidemics

The international legal framework is determined in order to address viruses and pandemics through multiple systems, but global health law is the area most concerned with regulating the rules for combating them, as international human rights law intervenes to ensure the freedom of individuals and confront the violations that may occur due to the spread of epidemics.

Combating epidemics within the global health system

There are many international treaties that have contributed to the formation of the international law framework for combating epidemics, including the international health treaties that were concluded in the years (1892,1893,1897), where those treaties formed the basis for the establishment of the global health system that system that has developed greatly, especially in the last half of the The twentieth century and achieved some success in reducing virus infection and reducing death rates, which led to an increase in the life expectancy of people in many countries of the world.

The problem is that people have not paid much attention to global epidemics, which explains the weakness of control over the risk of infection and the spread of the disease, especially since most countries have not made significant progress in facing the risks of viruses and diseases. The Corona crisis confirmed that viral diseases still pose great threats to countries as a whole.

The Global Public Health Law constitutes the basic system for regulating disease through the International Health Regulations of 2005, which represent the basic instruments in order to confront disease outbreaks.

The International Health Regulations issued in (2005) are considered at the present time the legal framework that represents one of the aspects of international cooperation in order to respond to emergencies. Health issues resulting from travel, which enables the World Health Organization to prepare and respond to many global health threats and facilitate collective measures to stand up to global health threats. Cooperation between the World Health Organization and its member countries is not limited to, but rather includes cooperation between different government departments.

International human rights law as an entry point to confront epidemics

International human rights law is considered one of the most important areas of the law that guarantees the protection of individuals from epidemics, and according to that law, states bear three types of duties centered on respecting human rights, including the right to health, protecting these rights by preventing other parties from violating them, as well as fulfilling those obligations By asking states to provide assistance in order to materialize positive rights.

International law in combating diseases and epidemics is based on basic human rights, including protection from arbitrary deprivation of life and the right of everyone to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The affected countries bear the primary responsibility for preventing and controlling epidemic diseases, which is problematic. Respecting international obligations and the extent of their fulfillment.

In addition, one of the basic principles of economic, social and cultural rights is that the state must undertake to take steps to the maximum extent of its available resources in order to achieve the right to health as well as other economic, social and cultural rights.

The responsibility for the realization of the right to health is not limited to states only, but is shared by a number of other parties to which the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights referred to it, such as health personnel, local communities, governmental organizations, civil society organizations, as well as the business sector [2] .

The role of the World Health Organization in fighting epidemics:

The World Health Organization seeks to develop binding legal texts through which the health security of the worlds is achieved, as this organization has tried since its inception to confront all epidemics and pandemics that spread in the world by adopting a number of mechanisms and measures, and the organization has had several interventions to stop the spread of the new Corona virus.

WHO mechanisms to confront epidemics and pandemics:

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the directing and coordinating authority in the field of global health, as it is the party authorized to set international rules and standards, and manages staff training and epidemic control. The member states of the World Health Organization were approved in 1951 and developed in 2005 in the wake of the SARS epidemic, which made it play an important role in fighting epidemics At the international level, the organization already guarantees international coordination, epidemiological surveillance and technical assistance to the affected countries. We find a specialized unit in Geneva known as the Global Network for Disease Outbreak and Response, followed by regional offices in most countries of the world.

With regard to epidemiological monitoring and warning, the World Health Organization is constantly analyzing the viral data it sends to national and global centers.

The World Health Organization is at the forefront of the scene in the fight against global epidemics, especially with regard to public health emergencies in many member states of the organization, where the organization launched the (Thirteenth General Program of Work 2019/2023) in which the goal of achieving universal health coverage was proposed in addition to that each country is vulnerable Epidemics and emergencies, that is, a state of global threat, but not every country has the same capabilities and capacities to face the risks and the basic strategy of the WHO is to build resilient national and global capacities to keep the world safe from epidemics [3] .

Measures and recommendations of the World Health Organization to confront the Covid 19 virus:

Since the beginning of the spread of the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has taken many measures and measures to address this global crisis, and in April 2020 the World Health Organization announced five organized measures to confront the pandemic:

1- Helping countries prepare and respond:

The World Health Organization has announced a preparedness, response and strategy plan through which it works to lay down the basic measures that countries must implement.

The plan is based on working through data that is constantly updated in order to understand the nature of the virus and its most important developments, as the data is considered a guide for plans related to different countries, especially the poor ones.

The organization’s various regional offices also work alongside the country offices in cooperation with countries represented by governments in order to equip the health sector to deal with the virus and try to control the virus, especially in the early stages of its spread.

The Solidarity Response Fund is considered one of the most important steps taken by the World Health Organization with the aim of providing care to patients with Covid virus and expediting the development of the vaccine. Until April 2020, the amount of donation to the fund amounted to about 800 million dollars.

2- Providing correct information and countering lies:

It is known that the Internet and social media have many inaccurate sources in dealing with news and information, which often affects negatively, and the organization puts accurate and targeted guidelines that help reduce the rates of disease.

With the organization publishing more than 50 advice to the public and workers in the health sector, social media and social applications on the Internet have also published all data and private information that will lead to community awareness and activate legal controls related to protection from the virus.

3- Ensure vital supplies reach frontline health workers:

The organization has sent more than 2 million pieces of personal protective equipment to more than 133 countries, with more than one million diagnostic tests sent to 126 countries.

4- Training and mobilization of health workers:

The World Health Organization has sought to train millions of workers in health sectors around the world. Users participate in the global social learning network through interactive sessions on the Internet. More than 1.2 million people have joined in multiple languages.

5- Searching for a vaccine Many laboratories around the world have begun to conduct tests in an attempt to search for a vaccine and unify global efforts. The World Health Organization has gathered more than 400 experts and specialists around the world in the medical field to determine the organization’s priorities in combating the virus [4] .


– The World Health Organization has played a great role in raising awareness, providing aid, and making many studies and tests necessary to prevent the spread of the Corona virus around the world, especially as it includes more than 196 member states.

– There is a set of legal procedures and measures revolving within the framework of international human rights law, which the World Health Organization has been keen to activate and emphasize.

Although the World Health Organization has played a major role in confronting the spread of the Coronavirus, it has been unable to put a final end to this virus, and most of the efforts were limited to support, information exchange, and emphasis on preventive measures aimed at preventing the spread of the Coronavirus.


  • Increasing reliance on electronic services such as distance learning, electronic shopping, and others, which would reduce the rates of mixing and infection.
  • Paying attention to the research field in the field of fighting epidemics, especially Corona in universities, especially since the Corona experience has proven the role of science and its place in protecting people.


1- Muhammad Obalak, WHO’s Responsibility in Light of COVID-19, Arab Democratic Center, June, 2020 at the following link

2- Muhammad Qasimi, Coronavirus between the two necessities to take containment measures and adhere to international standards, Al-Bahith Journal for Legal Studies.

3- Khadija bin Qattat, The International Community in Confronting Epidemics and Pandemics, Journal of Studies and Research, July, 2020, p. 556.

4- Official website of the World Health Organization:

[1] – Muhammad Obalak, WHO’s responsibility in light of COVID-19, the Arab Democratic Center, June, 2020 at the following link

2] – Muhammad Qasimi, Coronavirus between the two necessities to take containment measures and adhere to international standards, Al-Bahith Journal for Legal Studies, p. 110.

(3) – Khadija bin Qattat, The International Community in Confronting Epidemics and Pandemics, Journal of Studies and Research, July, 2020, p. 556.

[4] – Official website of the World Health Organization:

SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

I hold a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and International Relations in addition to a Master's degree in International Security Studies. Alongside this, I have a passion for web development. During my studies, I acquired a strong understanding of fundamental political concepts and theories in international relations, security studies, and strategic studies.

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