How successful were organizations’ pandemic planning efforts, once they were tested by the coronavirus outbreak? A new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) looks at the effectiveness of the global response so far, and the improvements that must be made going forward.
“A World in Disorder” was compiled by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, an independent body that prepares for global health crises. The report puts it plainly: global COVID-19 response has been “a collective failure to take pandemic prevention, preparedness and response seriously.”
Some of the major lessons learned from COVID-19:
- Political leadership – Effective leadership and decisive action based on science and best practices is the quickest way to end the threat and return to productivity and security.
- Public preparedness – In addition to effective governing, it’s the responsibility of individual citizens to act in the best interests of all.
- Beyond health effects – The rapid global spread of COVID-19 showed that pandemic preparedness isn’t just about health, but protecting education, social and economic sectors as well.
- Measuring preparedness – The current measures of preparedness haven’t predicted the effectiveness of countries’ response in stopping spread or saving lives.
- Return on investment for health security – Spending for prevention and preparedness costs billions of dollars – but the cost of a pandemic is in the trillions. “It would take 500 years to spend as much on investing in preparedness as the world is losing due to COVID-19,” says the report.
- “No one is safe until all are safe” – A pandemic is a global event and demands collective action; current systems need strengthening and consolidation to meet this demand.
In its call to action, the report urges these steps to strengthen the current COVID-19 response and better prepare for future pandemics:
- Responsible leadership
- Engaged citizenship
- Strong and agile national and global systems for global health security
- Sustained investment in prevention and preparedness
- Robust global governance of preparedness for health emergencies
Click here to read the complete report.