The World Health Organization (WHO) chief, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has warned that the world must prepare for an “even deadlier” next pandemic, as Covid-19 cases are beginning to decline in some areas.
During a media briefing on Wednesday, Dr. Ghebreyesus underscored the importance of enhancing and strengthening global and national preparedness for responding to the next pandemic. He said that “If what we experience with this epidemic resembles what we’re expecting from the next one, we should be prepared for even deadlier consequences.”
He added that governments must put in place effective surveillance and response systems that will allow them to detect and respond to any future outbreak, as well as building better public health infrastructure, including laboratories, data systems, communications networks and human resources.
Dr. Ghebreyesus also urged countries to become more resilient to the impact of future pandemics by investing in universal health coverage, social security systems, education, employment opportunities, mental health support and public health preparedness.
The WHO has so far received enough doses of vaccines to immunize at least 20% of the population in 93 countries. Although these vaccines have made significant progress in slowing down the pandemic, Dr. Ghebreyesus said, “vaccines alone will not be enough to keep us safe from the next pandemic.”
He warned that an even more deadly pandemic could arise if nations do not prepare and strengthen their public health systems in the meantime.