- We are not doing enough to prevent future pandemics: WHO Chief
- It is time to learn lessons from COVID-19 pandemic: WHO Chief
- WHO Chief highlighted the link between humans health and animals
New Delhi: In the last 12 months, the novel coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 that has caused the COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the entire world. More than 8.07 crore people are known to have contracted the coronavirus while 17.6 lakh succumbed to the disease so far. As the countries worldwide scramble to tackle the ongoing health crisis, World Health Organisation Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned that the coronavirus pandemic is not the last one and there is a need to strengthen epidemic prevention to manage and prevent future epidemics.
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In a video message, Dr Ghebreyesus said that it is time to learn lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO released the video message from the Chief in order to mark the first International Day of Epidemic Preparedness. On Sunday, WHO recognised December 27 as an International Day of Epidemic Preparedness to advocate for the importance of the prevention of, preparedness for and partnership against epidemics.
#COVID19 has shown the importance of strengthening epidemic prevention to avoid global health crises.
Sunday is the first-ever International Day of Epidemic Preparedness. https://t.co/bRoA19OJlG pic.twitter.com/II9JZnvQIk
— United Nations (@UN) December 26, 2020
Through the video message, Dr Ghebreyesus highlighted that the countries are not doing enough to prepare for the future epidemics or prevent those. He emphasised on addressing the climate change in order to improve human health. He said,
For too long, the world has operated on a cycle of panic and neglect. History tells us that this will not be the last pandemic, and epidemics are a fact of life. The pandemic has highlighted the intimate links between the health of humans, animals and planet. Any efforts to improve human health are doomed unless they address the critical interface between humans and animals, and the existential threat of climate change that’s making our earth less habitable.
Today is the first ever International Day of Epidemic Preparedness. In the past 12 months, lives and livelihoods have been turned upside down by #COVID19. But over the years @WHO and our partners have warned that the world is not prepared for a pandemic.pic.twitter.com/lZiUD41S3U
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) December 27, 2020
Dr Ghebreyesus said that all countries should invest in preparedness capacities to prevent, detect and mitigate emergencies of all kinds, and called for stronger primary health care provision. He added,
With investments in public health, we can ensure that our children and their children inherit a safer, more resilient and more sustainable world.
Dr Ghebreyesus added that the coronavirus pandemic should not have come as a surprise considering all the repeated warnings. He further said that the world has turned upside-down in the past 12 months. He pointed out that the impacts of the pandemic has gone far beyond the disease itself, with far-reaching consequences for societies and economies.
#EpidemicPreparedness is a wise investment.
Investing in health emergency response helps prepare for all emergencies which is part of an overall approach to advance #HealthForAll and strengthen #PrimaryHealthCare systems https://t.co/t2UVWVTzZ6pic.twitter.com/fFS1t3FHuH
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) December 27, 2020
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The World Was ‘Woefully’ Underprepared For The Current Pandemic
According to WHO’s Global Preparedness Monitoring Board’s September 2019 first annual report on global readiness for health emergencies that was released a few months before the pandemic broke out, the countries across the globe were extremely underprepared for a potentially devastating pandemic. The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board which was formed in 2018 by WHO to monitor preparedness activities on a global scale had urged the world leaders in 2019 to invest and take urgent actions to prepare for future public health emergencies. Through its first report, it said,
The world is at acute risk for devastating regional or global disease epidemics or pandemics that not only cause loss of life but upend economies and create social chaos.
In its second report released in September 2020, the board had warned again that the world cannot afford to be unprepared again when the next pandemic hits. The Board called for five urgent actions to be taken to bring order out of the catastrophe and chaos currently facing the world: responsible leadership; engaged citizenship; strong and agile systems for health security; sustained investment; and the robust global governance of preparedness.
Supporting Dr Ghebreyesus’s statements, Dr Dhanya Sooraj, Consultant, Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Kerala said that there is an urgent need for transforming the healthcare system across the country in order to make it well-equipped with a robust infrastructure to face the health crisis like the ongoing pandemic in a more efficient way. She said that while saving lives should be the focus, greater investments are required for strengthening preventive healthcare which includes better nutrition, better sanitation and behaviour change among others.
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NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.