We are insufficiently prepared for global pandemics

We are insufficiently prepared for global pandemics

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Millions of people feared by global pandemics

Researchers warn that mankind is insufficiently prepared for virulent flu pandemics, which can spread worldwide and cost millions of lives.

A recent investigation made it clear that we are not sufficiently prepared for the occurrence of virulent flu pandemics. The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board report has now been published.

Consequences of a virulent flu pandemic

A virulent flu pandemic could spread around the world in 36 hours and kill up to 80 million people. As a result, panic would arise, national security would destabilize and the economy would collapse. Such a scenario is quite plausible and, according to the researchers, the preparations by governments for such a disaster are inadequate.

Ebola, influenza and sars could cost millions of lives

The first annual report by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, an independent 15-member panel of experts convened by the World Bank and WHO after the first Ebola crisis, describes the risk of a pandemic that could spread worldwide and kill millions of people. The researchers particularly warn of diseases such as Ebola, influenza and Sars, which are becoming increasingly difficult to manage in the face of increasing conflicts, fragile states and increasing migration.

In addition, for example, the climate crisis and the lack of sanitary facilities and water are breeding grounds for rapidly spreading, catastrophic outbreaks of diseases. It is high time for sustainable measures to fight pandemics and diseases that can trigger a global crisis. This should include increasing funds at local, national and international levels to prevent outbreaks from spreading. Proactive steps should be taken to strengthen the mechanisms for coordinating willingness between governments and society and to be able to react quickly to an emergency, the researchers explain.

Willingness for outbreaks in Africa is still insufficient

The published report recognizes that in the five years since the Ebola crisis in West Africa, governments and international institutions have taken steps to be better prepared for outbreaks. Nevertheless, the report concludes that these arrangements are still completely inadequate. A growing lack of public trust in institutions in some countries, compounded by misinformation, is hampering disease control, the research group said.

Dealing properly with diseases can save lives

The report compares the recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where lack of trust between communities and authorities has eroded response efforts, to Uganda, where health authorities and community officials had a plan to prepare. Cases in Uganda were quickly isolated and uncovered, reducing further infections. Trust between the communities and the institutions that serve them is at the core of an emergency response, but it is almost impossible to build trust in the middle of a crisis. Commitment and trust in the community cannot be an afterthought, but must be earned, emphasize the researchers. The report also outlines seven steps to ensure that the world's health system is better prepared for the next health emergency. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

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