U.K. Cuts To Foreign Aid Budget Threaten Global Ability To Prevent Future Pandemics, Opinion Piece Says
The Guardian: Cutting U.K. overseas aid could harm the fight against future pandemics
Matthew Baylis, director of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) HORN project and professor of veterinary epidemiology at the University of Liverpool, and Fiona Tomley, director of the GCRF One Health poultry hub, professor of experimental parasitology at the Royal Veterinary College in London, and member of the U.K. Vaccine Network
“…[The COVID-19] virus is a startling indication of how the health of the world’s human population is inseparable from animals and the environment that we share with them. Treating health in a way that recognizes these interdependencies is called the One Health approach. Rather than studying human health in isolation, this approach considers how the health of people, animals, and the environment are intimately related. … But at a time when this international approach is needed more than ever to protect us from future pandemics, it’s coming under threat from the government’s proposal to slash its aid budget by a third, from 0.7% to 0.5% of GNI. … We’ve already experienced numerous recent disease outbreaks that originated in animals, from SARS to H5N1/H1N1 influenza, MERS, Ebola, Zika, and now Covid-19. We can be confident that many more will follow. Alongside these sporadic emergencies, which rightly receive huge media attention, the world faces a more insidious and arguably even greater danger from the ongoing march of global antimicrobial resistance (AMR). … The U.K.’s track record in funding international One Health projects, including vaccinology for human and animal diseases, has put it in a strong position to help end the current pandemic and prevent the next one from emerging. But the government’s decision to reduce its commitment to U.K. aid … threatens to deplete future funding that makes these crucial projects possible” (12/2).
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