The Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO DG) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus the world is at a very dangerous juncture and needs to be delivered.
Dr Ghebreyesus’ remark was at the recently concluded Warwick Economic Summit England, listed conflict and insecurity; political division; geopolitical tension; inflation and increasing poverty; narrow nationalism; and the overshadowing climate crisis as indicators of the trouble..
He said the COVID-19 pandemic has as a matter of fact, exposed and exacerbated many of these problems, and the serious gaps in the world’s defenses against health emergencies:
“There was inadequate governance; insufficient and unpredictable financing; systemic inequalities; a lack of transparency; rampant misinformation; and a failure of global solidarity in the face of a common threat.
“At the global level, these gaps led to a lack of coordination and cooperation, a lack of sharing of information, and a lack of sharing of resources and tools.
Inevitably, the poorest countries were left behind, waiting for scraps, the WHO DG said, adding that to be sure, there were also successes.
On the other hand, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned the development of vaccines in record time was as a triumph of science, in the midst of the other challenges..
“And through COVAX, those vaccines reached the world’s poorest and most vulnerable faster than they would have otherwise.
“Compared to HIV, where there was a 10-year gap between the richest and the poorest countries getting access to lifesaving drugs, we have made good progress.
But not good enough. There should not be any excuse for inequitable access to lifesaving products, because all lives are of equal value”.
According to the DG, the WHO and its partners could not allow the same thing to happen next time, inferring in the possibility of another epidemic, as according to him, “history teaches us that the next pandemic is a matter of when, not if.
“It may be caused by an influenza virus, or a new coronavirus, or it may be caused by a new pathogen we don’t even know about yet – which is what we refer to as Disease X.
“There’s been a lot of attention on Disease X recently, but in fact, it’s not a new thing”, he said.