Global Preparedness for Pandemics Still Lacking, warns WHO Chief at World Government Summit

In his address at the World Government Summit, World Health Organization Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus underscored the urgent need for international cooperation in addressing health emergencies, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlighting the WHO's initiatives, Ghebreyesus emphasized global support for its endeavors, citing the significance of the COP 28 UAE Declaration on Climate and Health, signed by 147 countries, which underscores the link between climate change and public health. He also praised the pivotal role of the WHO global logistics hub in Dubai, which has facilitated the distribution of medical supplies to over 81 countries, including crisis-hit regions like Gaza.

Ghebreyesus advocated for the development of a comprehensive international agreement on pandemic preparedness, emphasizing unity and cooperation among nations. Despite advancements in various areas, including surveillance and vaccine production, readiness for future pandemics remains inadequate.

Addressing challenges hindering progress toward the agreement, Ghebreyesus highlighted unresolved issues among countries and the spread of misinformation as significant obstacles. He debunked misinformation surrounding the agreement, clarifying that it does not grant WHO power over sovereign states but instead reaffirms national sovereignty and encourages collaboration to strengthen health systems and resource-sharing.

Ghebreyesus urged policymakers and leaders to seize the opportunity to protect the health of future generations, emphasizing collective responsibility in building a healthier, safer, and fairer world. Despite progress, challenges persist, and Ghebreyesus concluded his speech with a call to prioritize equity, solidarity, and collaboration in safeguarding global health and preventing future pandemics.

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