Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Jennifer P. Ruger


The world is becoming flat. With the progress of globalization and world integration, the past century has witnessed a growing number of emerging and reemerging diseases. It has become a common concern the world will face a deadly infectious disease pandemic and the international community needs to set up a functional system to face up the challenge. Over the past decade, outbreaks of SARS, H5N1 and H1N1 pandemic have raised concern among public health officials and the public in general on the need of global and local pandemic control. Infectious agents have been able to take advantage of the dramatic population flow, facilitated by the advance in transportation, to reach out to every inch of land on the planet. Diseases no longer respect nation boundaries and no single country are able to handle infectious epidemics. All has pointed to an urgent need of better governance in globalized infectious disease transmission. As complex as the epidemic itself, infectious disease control presents significant governance challenges. World Health Organization (WHO) is created with a mandate to be a world governor of health. However in this post-Westphalia international regime, states still have the residual power in governance and without a real functioning world government, the role of WHO as a leader in controlling global infectious diseases is limited. It is thus crucial to answer the question of how nation states and WHO should place themselves in the architecture of global epidemics control. This paper will examine the role of nation states and global health agencies, taking China and WHO as respective examples, in preparedness and response to the SARS epidemics. It will further compare the specific strengthens of each player in containing global infectious disease outbreaks under a shared health governance scheme.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access