Progress in global preparedness after the coronavirus pandemic covid-19 they still are “insufficient” to confront possible new major health threats, warned today a panel of experts that advises the World Health Organization (WHO).
This warning comes from the annual report presented in Geneva by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, an advisory body supported by the WHO and the World Bank (WB) that was created in the wake of the Ebola outbreaks in Africa over the past decade. .
The document, titled “A fragile state of preparation”highlights that, despite the achievements made with the response to the pandemic, the system continues to present “critical deficiencies” that leave humanity “dangerously exposed” to other future health threats.
Equitable interstate and intersectoral participation
Among the factors that weaken global resilience to pandemics, the report points to economic competition, geopolitical tensions and general distrust between States as the main impediments to having a more “transparent and fair” preparedness system.
“There are many reasons to divide or distract countries from the search for effective multilateral solutions, such as the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, as well as the growing effects of the climate change”, Former Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who co-leads the panel, said during the presentation of the report.
According to the report’s recommendations, countries should invest more in data collection and analysis tools to monitor that health emergency management mechanisms comply with the pandemic preparedness principles agreed by the WHO.
They also recommend increasing responsibility and mutual accountability at a regional and local level, with greater participation from sectors other than health such as civil society or the private sector, sectors that, they warn, have been “relaxed” after the end of the acute phase of the pandemic.
Global suspension of funding for prevention
Of the thirty indicators analyzed by the monitoring team, global financing showed the worst indices, with large investments in responses to epidemic outbreaks but without preparation “equitable, accessible and sustainable.”
Thus, although investments to confront the pandemic reached an unprecedented scale, experts denounce the lack of a framework “clear and anticipated” of financing, with a great mismatch between needs and availability at every moment of the recent health emergency.
To remedy these deficiencies, the panel of experts considers a reform necessary “exhaustive” of global financing for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, with a more nationally oriented approach that allows adjustment to the priorities and needs of each country.
Research, a key resource
The report also emphasizes the importance of leveraging the efforts of low- and middle-income countries with a trend towards long-term investments in investment and development.
“R&D is concentrated in only a few countries and regions”recalls the co-director of the advisory panel, Botswana Joy Phumaphi, who emphasizes that this imbalance manifested itself in an access “unequal” to vaccines against covid-19.
Phumaphi insisted that agreements for the development and production of pandemic medical countermeasures must include terms that support equitable access for all populations in need.
“It is essential that the covid-19 scenario is not repeated”he concluded.
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