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Good news for public health usually arises from factors like political commitment, sufficient resources, strong interventions and implementation capacity, equitable delivery, and alignment with national priorities and capacities. Sometimes, though, we are just plain lucky.
This has been the case with the H1N1 influenza pandemic. The virus did not mutate to a more lethal form. Cases of resistance to oseltamivir remained few and isolated. The vaccine closely matched circulating viruses and showed an excellent safety record.
Emergency wards and intensive care units were often strained, but few health systems were overwhelmed and the effects were usually short-lived. Schools closed, but borders remained open, and disruptions to travel and trade were far less severe than feared.
Had things gone wrong in any of these areas, we would have a very different agenda before us today.
This has been the most closely watched and carefully scrutinized pandemic in history. It is normal that every decision and action, especially on the part of WHO, will likewise be closely scrutinized and critically assessed. We welcome this process.