World Health Organization (WHO) Urges Global Preparedness for Impending Pandemic with Potentially Graver Consequences
During the 76th World Health Assembly, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the WHO, issued a warning emphasizing that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from its end and urged nations to brace themselves for the next potential pandemic, which could be even more devastating than the current crisis. Despite a stabilizing trend in COVID-19 cases worldwide, Tedros stressed that the global health threat persists.
Tedros stated, “The conclusion of the COVID-19 global health emergency does not signify the conclusion of COVID-19 as a global health threat. The possibility of new variants causing surges in disease and fatalities persists, as does the risk of another pathogen emerging with even deadlier potential.”
The WHO’s chief delivered this message while presenting his report to the World Health Assembly, highlighting the urgent need for robust global mechanisms capable of addressing and responding to a wide range of emergencies in the face of interconnected and converging crises.
To ensure preparedness, Tedros asserted, “When the next pandemic knocks on our door—and it will—we must be ready to respond decisively, collaboratively, and equitably.” He further emphasized that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected health-related targets set under the Sustainable Development Goals (S.D.G.s) with a 2030 deadline.
Additionally, the progress towards the Triple Billion targets, announced during the 2017 World Health Assembly, has been severely impacted. This five-year initiative aims to achieve universal health coverage for one billion more people, enhance protection for one billion more individuals against health emergencies, and improve the health and well-being of an additional billion people.
“The pandemic has diverted our course, but it has also revealed why we must remain committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (S.D.G.s) as our guiding light and pursue them with the same urgency and determination we exhibited in countering the pandemic,” Tedros asserted.