G20 Countries Should Undergo Joint External Evaluation To Be Better Prepared For Epidemics, Opinion Piece Says

Inter Press Service: Here’s How the World Can Be Better Prepared to Handle Epidemics
Ifeanyi Nsofor, medical doctor, CEO of EpiAFRIC, and director of policy and advocacy for Nigeria Health Watch

“The 2019 G20 Summit was held recently in Osaka, Japan. The Summit ended with the ‘G20 Osaka Leaders’ Declaration,’ which identifies health as a prerequisite for sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and the leaders committed to various efforts to improve epidemic preparedness. These efforts are commendable, but the G20, comprised of 19 countries and the European Union with economies that represent more than 80 percent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), also must do more to lead by example in epidemic preparedness by ensuring they all have a ReadyScore. … To be assigned a ReadyScore, countries should undergo a Joint External Evaluation (JEE) which is a voluntary, collaborative, multisectoral process to assess country capacities to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to public health risks whether occurring naturally or due to deliberate or accidental events. … So, what needs to happen next? First, the G20 should work with the World Health Organization and other partners to conduct JEE to make our world safer. … Second, universal health coverage and global health security must both be addressed together. … Third, G20 countries can invest in networks of reference and specialized laboratories as part of disaster prevention. … G20 countries should lead by example and get a ReadyScore by being open for joint external evaluations and meet all Osaka Leaders’ global health commitments. If other countries follow suit, then the world would move closer to being better prepared to handle epidemics” (7/19).