The World Health Organization (WHO) has stressed that Covid-19 will not be the world’s last health emergency and there is an urgent need for sustainable health emergency preparedness to deal with the next one.
The UN agency has pointed out that there is a need to break the cycle of panic-then-forget to handle any health emergency. According to WHO, past crises have shown that once an outbreak is under control, governments and donors tend to turn their attention to other pressing concerns.
This cycle of “panic-then-forget” has prevented the development of effective health emergency preparedness across the globe. The world needs to break this cycle once and for all.
Speaking at a virtual conference on sustainable preparedness for health security and resilience co-hosted by Finland, France and Indonesia, along with WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said: “Over the years we have had many reports, reviews and recommendations all saying the same thing: the world is not prepared for a pandemic. Covid-19 has laid bare the truth: when the time came, the world was still not ready."
“This will not be the last pandemic, nor the last global health emergency. But with the right political and financial investments now, we can advance health security, prevent and mitigate future pandemics, and protect our future and the future of generations to come,” he added.
“We know that preparedness makes economic sense, and we have developed tools and models for multi-sectoral cooperation. Learning from the pandemic and building on the previous progress should guide our steps to strengthen Health Security and thus help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Päivi Sillanaukee, Ambassador for Health and Wellbeing, Republic of Finland.
“France firmly believes that preparedness deserves to be placed much higher on the foreign policy agenda and we are willing to foster cooperation among Member States to ensure the continued visibility of this topic, whether here in Geneva or at the UNGA in New York,” said Stéphanie Seydoux, Ambassador for Global Health, French Republic.