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WHO Holds Special Health Assembly to Strengthen Pandemic Preparedness

December 2, 2021 by Alexa Hornbeck
WHO Holds Special Health Assembly to Strengthen Pandemic Preparedness
FILE - In this Sunday, March 21, 2021 file photo a vial and syringes of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara Sikh temple, on the day the first Vaisakhi Vaccine Clinic is launched, in Luton, England. AstraZeneca said Monday March 22, 2021 that advanced trial data from a U.S. study on its COVID vaccine shows it is 79% effective. The U.S. study comprised 30,000 volunteers, 20,000 of whom were given the vaccine while the rest got dummy shots. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali, File)

The World Health Organization held a special health assembly this week to consider a single substantive agenda on pandemic preparedness and response. 

“Comprehensive. Coordinated. Effective. These are three words that history will not use to describe the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, during his opening remarks at the special assembly.

A report created by the Member States Working Group on Strengthening WHO Preparedness and Response to Health Emergencies was presented during the special assembly. The WGPR convened for four meetings from July to November 2021 to discuss specific themes, such as the need for resilient and rapid response to pandemics by enhancing countries’ surge capacity, striving to achieve universal health coverage and strengthening health systems. 

The report also emphasizes the importance of the creation of a possible pandemic treaty, which would strengthen global coordination and response actions.  “After over a year and half of the pandemic, almost two years, we now must think carefully about the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have recorded almost 5 million deaths, sparing no country. The social and economic impact of the pandemic has been severe and continues to be so. The new variant reminds us all that the pandemic is far from over, and it is clear we must do all we can to ensure this situation never happens again,” said Alain Berset, the head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs of the Swiss Confederation, during the special assembly.

Alexa can be reached at alexa@thewellnews.com 

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