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International Response To Zika Must Be Rational, Humane, Coordinated, Collaborative

TIME: Gates Foundation: Fear Must Not Dictate Zika Policy
Chris Elias, president of the Global Development Program, and Trevor Mundel, president of the Global Health Division, both at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“The spread of Zika virus across the Americas reminds us that a health crisis anywhere can rapidly become a health challenge everywhere. … History teaches us that our response must also be rational and humane. The early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic demonstrated the dangers of letting fear dictate policy. … [W]e must ensure we are guided by facts and science. … [I]t is essential to strengthen health monitoring and reporting everywhere to help the world respond rapidly and effectively to potential pandemics. Another lesson from Ebola that the world has learned is that international organizations must respond rapidly and in close coordination, as WHO, PAHO, and CDC are doing now. … Our experience with other vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, yellow fever, and chikungunya shows that we cannot wait for global crises to appear before making investments in health surveillance and research and development for emerging and neglected diseases. The Zika outbreak provides another stark reminder of the need to prepare now for tomorrow’s crisis” (2/5).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.