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Opinion Pieces Discuss Global Lack Of Pandemic Preparedness, Make Recommendations

Devex: Opinion: No, we are still not ready for a global pandemic
Gabrielle Fitzgerald, CEO of Panorama

“…Whether a new disease or old, I believe we are still woefully unprepared for a global pandemic. … Last year, I co-authored a report that synthesized the recommendations from seven major post-crisis reports and commissions and wrote an analysis of progress against them. We found that many of the proposed reforms had not yet been implemented. Unfortunately, one year later, progress is decidedly mixed. In a report published this summer in the British Medical Journal, we reviewed dozens of initiatives, organizations, and tools to increase global capacity to manage outbreaks. Important steps have been taken … There are significant areas that still need attention, however. … [T]here are specific steps the world must take to ensure we have the structures in place to prepare for a global pandemic. Leadership … Coordinated planning … Funding … We have no idea what the next deadly emerging infectious disease will be, or where it will come from. But it is absolutely clear that the world cannot let the progress that has been made in fighting localized outbreaks lull us into thinking we are prepared for a global pandemic” (10/15).

Vox: A pandemic killing tens of millions of people is a real possibility — and we are not prepared for it
Ron Klain, White House Ebola response coordinator from 2014-2015 and former chief of staff to Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore

“…We cannot totally eliminate the risk of pandemics in the near term. But a three-pronged agenda focused on mitigating that risk — pushing for better and faster vaccine development and deployment, a stronger emergency response infrastructure, and a more robust global health security system — can make us safer. … New political and social trends further increase our risk level. A rising tide of anti-vaccine sentiment in the U.S. and Europe is raising the risk … The ability of social media to rapidly spread false information … is another source of danger … And then there is the risk factor of isolationism and xenophobia. … Reducing our risk from these dangers is a vast undertaking … But three items should top our agenda: 1) Improve vaccine development and deployment … 2) Strengthen U.S. epidemic preparation and response … 3) Bolster global response capabilities … In the end, the question we will face is not if a massive global pandemic will hit, but when. … The more we do now to accelerate vaccine research and deployment, bolster the home front for the coming threat, and invest in a global health security agenda and response capacities, the better we will fare when that day comes” (10/15).

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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.