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World ‘dangerously unprepared’ for another pandemic: Red Cross

Despite Covid-19 killing more people than any earthquake, drought or hurricane in history, the world is “dangerously unprepared” for future pandemics, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has said in a report published this week, calling on countries to update their preparedness plans by year-end.

In its World Disasters Report 2022, the IFRC said “all countries remain dangerously unprepared for future outbreaks”, reports Reuters.

More than 6.8m people have died during the Covid-19 outbreak, which has touched every country on earth, ravaging communities and economies.

“The next pandemic could be just around the corner. If the experience of Covid won’t quicken our steps toward preparedness, what will?” said Jagan Chapagain, secretary general of the IFRC, the world’s largest disaster response network.

The report said countries should review their legislation to ensure it is in line with their pandemic preparedness plans by the end of 2023 and adopt a new treaty and revised International Health Regulations by next year that would invest more in the readiness of local communities.

It also recommended that countries increase domestic health finance by 1% of gross domestic product and global health finance by at least $15bn per annum, which Chapagain described as a “good investment”.

“The important thing is there has to be a political will to commit to that,” he said. “If it is there, it’s possible.”

The release of the IFRC report coincides with an announcement this week by the World Health Organisation that Covid-19 “continues to constitute a public health emergency of international concern”, its highest form of alert.

The agency said the pandemic was possibly in a “transition point” that continues to need careful management to “mitigate the potential negative consequences”.

It is three years since the WHO first declared that Covid-19 represented a global health emergency, and vaccines and treatments had changed the situation considerably since 2020, said the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He said he hopes to see an end to the emergency this year, particularly if access to the counter-measures can be improved globally.

Advisers to the WHO expert committee on the pandemic’s status told Reuters in December that it was unlikely to end the emergency right now, given the uncertainty over the wave of infections in China after it lifted its strict zero-Covid-19 measures at the end of 2022.

 

World Disasters Report (Open access)

 

Reuters article – All countries ‘dangerously unprepared’ for future pandemics, says IFRC (Open access)

 

Reuters article – WHO maintains highest alert over COVID, but sees hope ahead (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

World in lockdown as global infections exceed 200,000

 

Calls for aggressive China-style containment amid sobering WHO warning

 

Debate rages over ‘severely flawed’ Imperial study that sparked the UK lockdown

 

China records 60 000 Covid deaths in a month

 

 

 

 

 

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