PanamaTimes

Sunday, Mar 03, 2024

World must be ready to respond to next pandemic: WHO chief

World must be ready to respond to next pandemic: WHO chief

Although COVID-19 may no longer be a global public health emergency, countries must still strengthen response to the disease and prepare for future pandemics and other threats, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday in Geneva.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was delivering his report to the 76th World Health Assembly, the UN agency’s decision-making body, which is meeting this week.

“The end of COVID-19 as a global health emergency is not the end of COVID-19 as a global health threat,” Tedros told member states.

“The threat of another variant emerging that causes new surges of disease and death remains, and the threat of another pathogen emerging with even deadlier potential remains.”

Furthermore, in the face of overlapping and converging crises, “pandemics are far from the only threat we face”, he added, underscoring the need for effective global mechanisms that address and respond to emergencies of all kinds.

“When the next pandemic comes knocking – and it will – we must be ready to answer decisively, collectively, and equitably,” he advised. 

Tedros said COVID-19 had significant implications for health-related targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which have a deadline of 2030.

The pandemic also affected progress towards the Triple Billion targets, announced at the 2017 World Health Assembly.

The five-year initiative calls for ensuring one billion more people have universal health coverage, a billion more are better protected from health emergencies, and another billion more enjoy better health and wellbeing.

Tedros reported that countries have made progress on universal health coverage, with some 477 million people now benefitting. However, he warned that if current trends continue, fewer than half the world’s people will be covered by the end of the decade, “meaning we must at least double the pace”.

COVID-19 also showed that eight billion people — basically everyone on the planet — need to be better protected in emergencies.

“The pandemic has blown us off course, but it has shown us why the SDGs must remain our north star, and why we must pursue them with the same urgency and determination with which we countered the pandemic,” he said.

Tedros also highlighted several achievements that have been made over the past year in what he called the “five Ps”: promoting, providing, protecting, powering, and performing for health.

Countries have taken action to promote health by preventing disease and addressing their root causes, for example. Between 2017 and 2022, 133 governments increased or introduced a new tax on products that harm health, such as tobacco and sugary drinks.

“We also see encouraging progress in eliminating industrially-produced trans-fat from the global food supply,” he said. “Many countries have also made impressive progress in reducing salt intake, a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease.”

On protection, Tedros noted that with the end of COVID-19 and mpox as global public health emergencies, only polio now remains.

Following an all-time low of five wild poliovirus cases in 2021, numbers increased last year, with 20 cases in Pakistan, two in Afghanistan, and eight in Mozambique.

He stressed that WHO and partners “remain steadfastly committed to finishing the job of consigning polio to history”.

Tedros concluded his remarks by urging countries to “pick up the pace of progress” on the Triple Billion and health-related SDG targets.

He called for urgent and constructive negotiations on the new global pandemic accord and the International Health Regulations (IHR), the treaty that governs preparedness and response to health emergencies, “so the world will never again have to face the devastation of a pandemic like COVID-19”.

He also asked countries to support a 20 percent increase in their contributions to support the work of WHO.
Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
0:00
0:00
Close
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
The President of Argentina Javier Mile does not fly private, he flies commercial, with the citizens he represents. And they LOVE him for it.
Bitcoin Reaches $50,000 for First Time in Over Two Years
Belo Horizonte: Brazil's Rising Carnival Hotspot for 2024
In El Salvador, the 'Trump of Latin America' stuns the world with a speech slamming woke policing after winning a landslide election
Tucker’s interview with Putin is over 50M views on X within the first 5 hours.
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
President Nayib Bukele has proudly announced El Salvador's remarkable achievement of becoming the safest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
This farmer seems to understand science a bit more than the event organizer, Klaus Schwab.
Facebook turns 20: From Mark Zuckerberg's dormitory to a $1trn company
The Coolest Dictator in the World" on the Path to Victory in El Salvador
Macron, France and fake news
Indian-Origin Man 'King' Arrested For Smuggling $16 Million Drugs Into US
Can someone teach Americans that not every person with slanted eyes is Chinese?
Europe's Farmers Feeding the People, Protesting Against Politicians Who Do Nothing for Their Country and Serve Only Themselves at Taxpayers' Expense
Paris Restaurant That Inspired 'Ratatouille' Loses $1.6 Million Worth Of Wine
Brazilian Police Investigate Bolsonaro's Son for Alleged Illegal Spying
Police in Brazil Raid Residence of Bolsonaro Associate Over Allegations of Illegal Spying
Border Dispute Escalates as Texas Governor Vows Increased Razor Wire
OpenAI Enhances ChatGPT-4 Model, Potentially Addressing AI "Laziness" Issue
The NSA finally acknowledges spying on Americans by acquiring sensitive data
Report Reveals Toxic Telegram Group Generating X-Rated AI-Generated Fake Images of Taylor Swift
US Border Patrol States 'No Plans' to Remove Razor Wire Installed in Texas
Bitcoin Experiences Approximately 20% Decline in Value
Klaus Schwab recently appointed himself as the Earth's "trustee of the future."
DeSantis Drops Out, Endorses Trump.
Nikki Haley said former President Trump is "just not at the same level" of mental fitness as he was while president in 2016.
Residents of a southern Mexican town set the government palace on fire in response to the police killing of a young man
Samsung Launches AI-Driven Galaxy S24, Ushering in New Smartphone Era
Judge Questions SEC's Regulatory Overreach in Coinbase Lawsuit
The Ecuador prosecutor who was investigating the television studio attack, has been assassinated.
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his US election campaign and endorses Trump.
Viral Satire: A Staged Satirical Clip Mistaken as Real Footage from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Ecuador Reports 178 Hostages in Prison Gang Standoff
The Startling Cuban Espionage Case That Has Rattled the US Government
Two Armed Men in Ecuador, Dressed as Batman and The Joker Storm the Streets.
Armed Gang Raids Ecuadorian TV Station Following State of Emergency Declaration
Anti-Democratic Canada: Journalist Arrested for Questioning Canadian Finance Minister on Support of Terrorist Group
Ecuador's 'Most-Wanted' Criminal Vanishes from Prison
Mexican Cartel Supplied Wi-Fi to Locals Under Threat of Fatal Consequences for Non-Compliance
Border Surge Leads to Over 11,000 Migrants Waiting in Northern Mexico
Outsider Candidates Triumph in Latin American Elections
As Argentina Goes to the Polls, Will the Proposal to Replace the Peso with the Dollar Secure Votes?
Fatal Shark Attack Claims Life of Boston Woman Paddleboarding Near Bahamas Resort, According to Police
×