WHO, World Bank Establish New Initiative To Help World Prepare For Emergencies

The World Health Organization and the World Bank Group today announced the launch of a new mechanism to strengthen global health security. WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Dr Tedros) had signalled the creation of this mechanism a few weeks ago in his opening remarks at the opening of the World Health Assembly this week.

According to a WHO press release, the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board will function through “stringent independent monitoring and regular reporting of preparedness to tackle outbreaks, pandemics, and other emergencies with health consequences.”

The Board of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board will be co-chaired by Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Norway prime minister and former WHO director general, and Elhadj As Sy, secretary general of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, as indicated by Dr Tedros earlier this week (IPW, WHO, 21 May 2018).

“Part of being prepared is having a means of assessing progress made at all levels, by all actors, identifying gaps, including in financing, and making sure all actors are working together, pulling in the same direction,” Dr Tedros said in the release.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said in the release that “For too long, we have allowed a cycle of panic and neglect when it comes to pandemics: we ramp up efforts when there’s a serious threat, then quickly forget about them when the threat subsides.”

Board co-chair Brundtland commented on the current Ebola outbreak in the Congo, and said it is reminding the world of the West African outbreak of 2014-2015. “The importance of being prepared for and resilient to health crises has never been clearer,” she said.

“Though the last two years of progress in improving capacity to respond to such events is encouraging, gaps remain – and it is time to stop talking about them, and start addressing them,” Brundtland said.

She added that the Board will “monitor preparedness activities on a global scale, and will hold all actors, from private and public sectors, accountable for building essential public health capacities, generating sustainable financing and ensuring that necessary research and development is conducted.”

The Board is expected to report annually on adequacy of financing, progress on relevant research and development, and the strength of health crises preparedness at the global, regional, and national level, according to the release.


Image Credits: FLickr – UNMEER.

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