GENEVA- WHO and World Bank Group introduced a new method to strengthen and sustain global health security through rigorous monitoring and regular reporting, in order to tackle outbreaks, pandemics, and other emergencies followed by health consequences.
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and World Bank Group President Dr. Jim Yong Kim co-led the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, during the 71st session of the World Health Assembly. The Board was co-chaired by Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister Norway and former WHO Director-General, and Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Many political leaders, heads of UN agencies and world-class health experts, were a part of this meeting. The Board’s Secretariat is said to be housed at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
Dr. Tedros discussed regarding the recent outbreaks and level of preparation, by stating that, “The ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a stark reminder that outbreaks can happen anywhere, at any time. Part of being prepared is having means of assessing progress made at all levels, identifying gaps, inclusive of finances, and making sure that everyone is working together.” He further added that he was proud of their collaborative work with World Bank Group to establish Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, led by excellent healthcare providers.
Dr. Kim added that, the community we live in has instilled a cycle of neglect and panic, when it comes to pandemics. We refuse to sustain follow ups once the situation subsides. He stated that, “With the GPMB, we’re taking a large step towards breaking that cycle. GPMB will help save lives, prevent economic damage, and ensure that we keep pandemic preparedness at the top of the global agenda.”
Mr. Sy mentioned, how local communities should also be a part of the plan, including detection, response and recovery to disease outbreaks and associated emergencies and health consequences. He fully showed his support for this cause, to remain alert and achieve positive results.
The UN Secretary-General’s Global Health Crises Task Force, recommended in its mid-2017 final report to the UN General Assembly, the need for up-gradation of the ongoing monitoring of global health emergency preparedness.
Board co-chair Dr. Brundtland added that, “With the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, reminding us of the West African outbreak of 2014-15; the importance of being prepared to face health crises has never been clearer. It is time to stop talking, and start addressing problems.”. He then welcomed the establishment of the new Global Preparedness Monitoring Board. This board will be monitoring 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 necessary research and development.
The Board will supervise emergency preparedness across national governments, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector. Annual reports on adequacy of financing, progress on research and development, and strength of health crisis preparedness at global, regional and national levels will be observed. On the basis of this collective information, the board will advocate at the highest levels for health crisis preparedness.