Financial and political investments in preparedness for an infectious disease pandemic have been insufficient and all countries are “paying the price,” The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) has said.
The GPMB claimed in a report that a collective failure by world political leaders to heed warnings and prepare for the coronavirus pandemic has transformed “a world at risk” to a “world in disorder.”
The panel was co-convened by the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO). It is chaired by former WHO Director General Gro Harlem Brundtland, who now also chairs an independent watchdog that monitors the WHO.
“There have been numerous calls for action… over the last decade, yet none has generated the changes needed,” said the report, entitled ‘A World in Disorder.’ It added that world leaders had never before “been so clearly forewarned of the dangers of a devastating pandemic” and yet they had failed to take adequate action.
The board noted that despite calling a year ago for heads of government to commit and invest in pandemic preparedness, little progress had been made on any of these. A lack of leadership, it said, is exacerbating the current pandemic.
“Failure to learn the lessons of Covid-19… will mean that the next pandemic, which is sure to come, will be even more damaging,” it said.
The WHO tracked 1,483 epidemic events in 172 countries between 2011 and 2018. After every major disease outbreak, the organization convenes a body of public health experts to provide feedback on the response effort.
The previous report, called ‘A World At Risk,’ was released just months before the appearance of Covid-19. The GPMB’s experts pleaded with world leaders in 2019 to implement measures to stop the next outbreak. Epidemics were becoming increasingly common, they argued. The panel warned that “there is a very real threat of a rapidly moving, highly lethal pandemic of a respiratory pathogen” that could “kill millions” and disrupt the global economy.
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