Orchestrating Collaboration Among Contending States: The World Health Organization and Infectious Disease Control in Southeast Asia 1
Infectious disease control poses a collective action problem for nation-states. No infectious disease control initiative involved the pooling of sovereignty more than that of polio. This chapter considers three infectious diseases—polio, malaria, and tuberculosis. In 1995, nineteen countries in the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Central Asia held coordinated national polio immunization days. In 1994 World Health Organization (WHO) Southeast Asian Regional Office (SEARO) set up the technical consultative group (TCG), a body that evolved into the authoritative decision-making institution for polio eradication in the region. In 1995, nineteen countries in the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Central Asia held coordinated national polio immunization days. Governments of Southeast Asia also pooled decision-making for malaria strategies, sustaining locally tailored control tactics, while gradually transferring power to the WHO and other international organizations. WHO played a major role in orchestrating cross-national collaboration in malaria control efforts and in creating venues for the future pooling of decision-making.