Opinion Piece Calls For Funded, Prioritized, Well-Planned Action Plans For Outbreak Preparedness
BMJ Global Health: Protecting the world from infectious disease threats: now or never
Cyrus Shahpar, director of the Prevent Epidemics team, and colleagues from Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies
“Whether by microbial mutation, movement across borders, or man-made biological release, a new health threat is inevitable, unpredictable, and potentially devastating. For the first time, the world now has a clear picture of how prepared countries are for this potentially catastrophic event. When the international evaluation team left Haiti in July 2019, one hundred countries had completed a Joint External Evaluation (JEE) of health emergency readiness. The JEE is a voluntary, externally validated assessment of 19 technical areas required to prevent, detect, and respond to health emergencies. This milestone, in addition to the ongoing uncontrolled Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo, makes this an opportune time to take stock of both the status of the world’s preparedness and of what needs to be done to make the world safer. … To save lives, funded, prioritized, well-planned actions must be implemented at scale as soon as possible, supported by a network of partners working together to support countries to step up their capacities to prevent, detect and respond to public health threats and make the world safer” (September 2019).