HEALTH MYSTERIES: FIGHTING A DIFFERENT KIND OF WAR UTILIZING COOPERATIVE
NETWORKS ACROSS BORDERS
By Joanne Dufour, Seattle, Washington
Initial Activity: 15 minutes
Extended Activities: up to one hour or longer
For suggested use in the following courses: World History; Current
Events; Contemporary World; Political Science; Science - Spread of Disease;
Health - Disease/Epidemic Units
Students will be able to (SWBAT)
an appreciation for the networks within the health care systems internationally
about the new disease called SARS [Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome]
in a process of determining the effectiveness of a Global Outbreak Alert
& Response Network
about the World Health Organization and its work with communicable disease
surveillance and response
World Health Organization; Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network;
SARS [Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome];
to national standards
immemorial, germs as well as ideas, products and people have transcended
boundaries be they tribal, national, imperial or international. In the
later half of the 20th Century, health organizations set up networks to
share information and resources regarding the spread of and treatment
of disease. Largely through the work of the World Health Organization,
scientists, medical schools, researchers, hospitals, practitioners, health
care workers, pharmaceutical firms, professional organizations, non-government
organizations, government ministries of health were linked to help address
issues of health care for the world's population.
2000, the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network has been operating
under the auspices of The Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response
Department (CSR) of the World Health Organization with the objectives
of combating the international spread of outbreaks; ensuring that appropriate
technical assistance reaches affected states rapidly and contributing
to long-term epidemic preparedness and capacity building.
of efforts underway to assess a new disease, SARS [Severe Acute Respiratory
Syndrome] provides a way to see this process at work from the gathering
of facts about a new disease: its location, spread, cause, symptoms, how
contracted, at-risk populations leading to the signaling of a global alert
to caution people about it.
Statement of CSR
country should be able to detect, verify rapidly and respond appropriately
to epidemic-prone and emerging disease threats when they arise to minimize
their impact on the health and economy of the world's population.
(Vision of Communicable Disease Surveillance & Response [CSR] division
of the World Health Organization)
with students their general knowledge of the United
Nations. Clarify the distinct roles of the Security Council, General
Assembly and more popularly known agencies such as International Atomic
Energy Agency - IAEA [responsible for reporting on disarmament efforts
in Iraq], United Nations' Children's Fund - UNICEF [agency focusing
on children], United Nations High Commission for Refugees - UNHCR [agency
coordinating relief efforts for refugees worldwide] and World Health
Organization - WHO [agency for all aspects of health care issues]
students read the NewsHour
transcript interview held on the NewsHour on March 31, 2003 with
Dr. David Heyman, Director for Communicable Diseases at the World Health
Organization in Geneva on a mysterious flu-like disease called Severe
Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which has rapidly spread across parts
of Asia and elsewhere. (Teachers
with the technical cababilities can link to a video
of the interview here.)
his remarks ask students to determine the role of his department in:
A. Gathering facts about the disease
· How contracted
C. Notifying at-risk populations through their GLOBAL ALERT NETWORK
student familiarity with this disease. How did they first find out about
it? What was the time frame from the first appearance of this disease
to their own learning about it. [Students might wish to read the NewsHour
Extra story on SARS as well as to explore the NewsHour
SARS package to update information on SARS. See the World Health
Organization's information on SARS at http://www.who.int/csr/sars/en/]
Contacts can be initiated with local Health Department officials to
determine any local connections to this disease which might have occurred.
students to evaluate the effectiveness of the network in meeting the
common good for your area.
The Global Outbreak Alert & Response Network of CSR is a technical
collaboration of existing institutions and networks who pool human and
technical resources for the rapid identification, confirmation and response
to the outbreaks of international importance. The network provides an
operational framework to link this expertise and skill to keep the international
community constantly alert to the threat of outbreaks and ready to respond.
factors might enhance or impede effectiveness in another country? Consider
a range of countries in your answers with varying size, levels of development,
health issues, etc. Each student could choose a country from a different
world region in discussing his/her answer.
are the implications of this story to the possibility of a bioterrorist
research can be done on other diseases inventoried by the World Health
Section 3A above as a guide. Students can be urged to select different
diseases and compare progress toward their eradication. Other health
updates are available on U.N.
Wire, an independent news briefing about the U.N. by the U.N. Foundation
- See NewsHour
Extra lesson on "Preparing
Appendix B extra research may be done on the work of the World Health
Organization, which has as its objective "the attainment by all
peoples of the highest possible level of health." Given the new
realities of the world, students may be encouraged to draft amendments
to the preamble to address current realities.
The World Health Organization, the United Nations specialized agency for
health, was established on april 7, 1948. WHO's objective, as set out
in its Constitution, is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible
level of health. Health is defined in WHO's Constitution as a state of
complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence
of disease or infirmity.
to the Constitution of the World Health Association.
a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely
the absence of disease or infirmity.
The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the
fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion,
political belief, economic or social condition
The health of all peoples is fundamental to the attainment of peace and
security and is dependent upon the fullest co-operation of individuals
The achievement of any State in the promotion and protection of health
is of value to all.
Unequal development in different countries in the promotion of health
and control of disease, especially communicable disease, is a common danger
Healthy development of the child is of basic importance; the ability to
live harmoniously in a changing total environment is essential to such
The extension to all peoples of the benefits of medical, psychological
and related knowledge is essential to the fullest attainment of health.
Informed opinion and active co-operation on the part of the public are
of the utmost importance in the improvement of the health of the people
have a responsibility for the health of their peoples which can be fulfilled
only by the provision of adequate health and social measures.
THESE PRINCIPLES, and for the purpose of co-operation among themselves
and with others to promote and protect the health of all peoples, the
Contracting Parties agree to the present constitution and hereby establish
the World Health Organization as a specialized agency within the terms
of Article 57 of the Charter of the United Nations.
to National Standards:
Council for the Social Studies:
II Time, Continuity and Change
an understanding that different people may describe the same event or
situation in diverse ways, citing reasons for the differences in views
Groups & Institutions
(f) give examples of the role of institutions in furthering both continuity
(g) show how groups and institutions work to meet individual needs and
promote the common good, and identify examples of where they fail to do
Science, Technology and Society
(a) identify and describe both current and historical examples of the
interaction and interdependence of science, technology and society in
a variety of cultural settings.
(d.) analyze the causes, consequences and possible solutions to persistent,
contemporary and emerging global issues, such as health, security..
(g.) describe and evaluate the role of international and multinational
organizations in the global arena
Science Standards and Benchmarks
Standard 11 - Understands how scientific knowledge changes and
accumulates over time
Joanne Dufour has been a classroom teacher, teacher trainer and curriculum
developer in the New York and Seattle area and an educational consultant
to the United Nations, Newsweek Educational Division and a host of non
governmental organizations in the educational field. She is currently
on the faculty of Heritage College in their Seattle location.
To find out more about opportunities to contribute
to this site, contact Leah Clapman at email@example.com.