Infections worse than COVID will prevail if global public health ignorance continues

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After Omicron comes pi in the Greek alphabet. Then ro, sigma, tau … Before SARS-CoV-2 could complete its grand tour of the Greek alphabet, the World Health Organization had to do what it should have done long before the advent of this coronavirus. It needs to create the basic health systems needed to detect new outbreaks and deploy technology allowing the production and administration of vaccines and drugs in low- and middle-income countries.

Because they have often refused to view COVID as a common threat that requires a united response, politicians have not yet been able to prevent a virus attack that, by sending Greeks back, affects everyone (pot) peopledemo). This myopia means that these mistakes could be repeated when a new pandemic comes.

Next time could be worse. The National Academy of Medicine predicted in November 2021 that a flu epidemic similar to the 1918 and 1919 epidemics may prove more catastrophic than COVID-19. The preconditions for such a catastrophe are there. Global warming, metropolises, mass migration, intercontinental travel and habitat loss are some of the reasons that infectious diseases such as typhoons and intensifying hurricanes have become part of our lives.

The rapid development of diagnostics, vaccines, monoclonal antibodies and antiviral drugs marks the undisputed medical triumph of the COVID era. However, it should also be noted that governments and international organizations have not taken advantage of our current predicament correct obvious shortcomings in public health.

The Global Health Safety Index for 2021 rated 195 countries as “dangerously unprepared”To combat future threats of epidemics and pandemics. The average score for individual countries was 38.9 out of 100, about the same as the 2019 rating – before the pandemic. Many countries have not realized that the pandemic provides an unprecedented opportunity to lay the groundwork to combat not only this public health crisis but also the future.

Preparedness for COVID-30 or a new strain of pandemic influenza – or, for that matter, out-of-control biological weapons – will require new generations of surveillance, diagnostic and drug tools, as well as, say, a “universal” coronavirus vaccine. which can resist any strain. Having a sufficient number of long-shelf vaccine formulations available would also help alleviate the inequalities that accompanied the spread of vaccinations. Emphasizing the lack of “global” in “global public health,” Portugal had fully vaccinated 89 percent of its population by mid-January, and Mali only 2.8 percent.

Returning to the basics, both globally and locally, should be a top priority. COVID has served as a painful demonstration that public health is as important to national security as a standing army. And health care costs are minimal. In 2016, the Commission on the Global Health Risk Scheme for the Future calculated that for 65 cents a year for every person on the planet, we could modernize national pandemic preparedness programs around the world. A $ 4.5 billion investment – much less than the cost of a new ballistic missile submarine – could prevent global losses of millions of lives and an economic shock of trillions of dollars.

The basics include not only the creation of new systems to prepare for pandemics, but also a serious strengthening of existing institutions. Legal expert on health care Lawrence Alexandrovich Gostin notes in this issue that the World Health Organization has a budget for 2022–2023 of $ 6.12 billion, which is less than some major U.S. training hospitals. The WHO needs not only money, but also reforms that give it the power to better control and intervene in the face of new infectious diseases. At the country level, the basic principles consist of functioning national systems that provide health care to all and, as appropriate, financial assistance for childcare, nutrition and housing, as well as other measures to end poverty-related chronic diseases that can even cause relatively young people on mechanical ventilation during a future pandemic.

After repeated outbreaks of horrific diseases such as SARS, Ebola and Zika, it is possible that this disaster will be traumatic enough to allow a harmonious remake of the current system. Deaths from COVID around the world by mid-January were roughly equal to the population of Norway – and the pandemic is still with us. Only when global public health attracts the attention of politicians just as much as a new contract for nuclear submarines do Greek letters return to their more familiar role in American life as naming conventions for student groups on college campuses.

Infections worse than COVID will prevail if global public health ignorance continues

Source link Infections worse than COVID will prevail if global public health ignorance continues