World ‘grossly underprepared’ for infectious disease, warn scientists

LONDON-- The world has yet to learn its lesson from previous epidemics like Ebola and Zika, as it's still "grossly underprepared" for infectious disease outbreaks, said an analysis article published Monday in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The article was written by a group of international scientists who reviewed reports on the recent Ebola virus outbreak in west Africa. The team gathered and analyzed seven major post-Ebola reports, and assessed progress to date.

"Ebola, and more recently Zika and yellow fever, have demonstrated that we do not yet have a reliable or robust global system for preventing, detecting, and responding to disease outbreaks," the authors said in the article.

They found that the diagnosis of the key problems and recommendations for action in these reports converged in three critical areas: strengthening compliance with the International Health Regulations; improving outbreak-related research and knowledge sharing; and reforming the World Health Organization (WHO) and broader humanitarian response system.

To address these issues, countries have started to take action, but that progress has been mixed with many critical issues that have largely gone unaddressed, according to the team.

These critical issues include: inadequate investments in country capacity building, weak arrangements for fair and timely sharing of patient samples, and reform efforts at WHO neglecting to address deeper institutional shortcomings.

The global community needs "to mobilize greater resources and put in place monitoring and accountability mechanisms to ensure we are better prepared for the next pandemic," said the authors. (PNA/Xinhua)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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