GHTC statement on emergency preparedness delivered at WHA
The following statement—from Global Health Council (GHC) supported by the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC), the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), and Management Sciences for Health (MSH)—was delivered at the 72nd World Health Assembly on agenda item 11.2: Public health emergencies: preparedness and response.
GHC supported by GHTC, IDSA and MSH, applaud efforts to strengthen capacities to prepare for and respond to health emergencies. As organizations working on the front lines of infectious disease responses and R&D, we urge states to continue building capacities to detect, prevent and respond to health threats.
We are concerned that emergency preparedness and response capacities in most countries remain inadequate. It takes only 36 hours for a dangerous pathogen to travel from a rural village to any major city in the world. Investments in preparedness including financing to stop outbreaks at their source should be a priority. States must prioritize development of vaccines, therapeutics, rapid diagnostics, medical countermeasures and other lifesaving tools to prevent the next outbreak from growing into a pandemic.
The DRC Ebola outbreak highlights the urgent need to strengthen response capacities in conflict-affected and fragile settings. More investments in health systems strengthening, greater community engagement and culturally appropriate interventions are needed immediately, along with continued collaboration for supporting the advancement of Ebola vaccine candidates and mobilizing additional tools, such as mobile labs for rapid sampling.
We encourage WHO to highlight the success of efforts to harmonize regulatory systems across regional economic communities globally and call on all stakeholders to strengthen global regulatory capacity. We request WHO to consider platform diagnostics for emerging infectious diseases as the SAGE works to expand the Essential Diagnostics List.
We urge WHO to include efforts to prevent AMR in emergency preparedness and IHR-strengthening activities. Resource-limited countries bear a disproportionate burden of deaths from resistant infections. WHO must help countries strengthen antibiotic stewardship capacities while working to improve preparedness and response.