Experts call for sweeping reforms to prevent next pandemic


Some countries did not even know the regulations existed, his group said. Others lacked essential laws to respond to epidemics, such as those allowing quarantines.

Changing these regulations would require “negotiations for years,” Dr Wieler said, noting that the latest round took a decade to finalize. Instead, one of the main recommendations of his committee was to increase countries’ accountability for their obligations, including through a pandemic treaty and periodic review of their status. preparation that would involve other countries.

The independent panel also proposed creating an international council led by heads of state to keep focus on health threats and oversee a multibillion-dollar funding program to which governments would contribute according to their capacity. . This would promise swift payments to countries facing a new outbreak, giving them an incentive to report.

“There will only be the political will to create these things when something catastrophic happens,” said Dr Mark Dybul, one of the group members. These recommendations stem in part from his experience as the head of the President’s Emergency AIDS Program, known as Pepfar, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a- he declared.

But Dr Wieler, who led the other international review, said that in general, creating new institutions rather than focusing on improving existing ones could increase costs, complicate coordination and hinder performance. ‘WHO.

Recommendations from expert groups after global emergencies have sometimes been adopted. The 2014 and 2015 Ebola epidemic led to the creation of the WHO health emergencies program, aimed at strengthening the agency’s role in managing health crises and providing technical advice. A report released this month noted that the new program had received “increasingly positive reactions” from countries, donors and partner agencies as it handled dozens of health and humanitarian emergencies.

The WHO before the Ebola outbreak and after it are “essentially two different agencies,” said Dr Joanne Liu, former international president of Doctors Without Borders and member of the independent panel. Dr Liu was one of WHO’s fiercest critics in the Ebola response, and she noted a “marked improvement” in the speed with which the agency declared an international emergency this time around.

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