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COVID will not be the last pandemic: Dr Tedros

The Director General of the World Health Organisation said that as pathogens have no regard for the lines humans draw on maps, nor for the colour of our politics or the size of our economies, the COVID pandemic is unlikely to be the last pandemic and the global community needs to remain prepared based on equity.

Addressing the high-level meeting on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the WGO DG said that the first-ever head-of-state summit on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response is a historic milestone in the urgent drive to make all people in the world safer and better protected from the devastating impacts of pandemics.

“I welcome this commitment by world leaders to provide the political support and direction needed so that WHO, governments, and all involved can protect the health of people and take concrete steps towards investing in local capacities, ensuring equity, and supporting the global emergency health architecture that the world needs,” he added.

The political declaration, approved by Mr Dennis Francis, President of the 78th United Nations General Assembly, and the result of negotiations led by Ambassadors Gilad Erdan of Israel and Omar Hilale of Morocco, highlighted the pivotal role played by WHO as the directing and coordinating authority on international health," as well as the need to "commit further to sustainable financing that provides adequate and predictable funding to the World Health Organisation."

Dr Tedros, on the other hand, stated that the political declaration issued on Wednesday advocated for additional development of the global health emergency architecture to better protect the globe against a COVID-19-style disaster.

The United Nations General Assembly has approved the political declaration urging Member States to negotiate a pandemic accord and make targeted amendments to the International Health Regulations by May 2024.

The declaration also emphasised the need to ensure sustainable, affordable, fair, equitable, effective, efficient, and timely access to medical countermeasures, including vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutics, and other health products.

It also called for measures to counter health-related misinformation, disinformation, hate speech, and stigmatisation of the physical and mental health of people, especially on social media platforms.

The declaration also calls for investment in primary health care and other health system measures, strengthening the WHO, health workforce, surveillance and supply systems, and local manufacturing abilities.

The declaration also called for scaling health system capacities to address pandemic threats in low- and lower-middle-income countries, particularly across Africa.

The declaration also called for a multisectoral approach to improve pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response, supporting the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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