WHO plans meeting next month to review health strategy

Published February 4, 2020
The World Health Organisation announced on Monday that next month it will bring together ministers of health, finance and foreign affairs of its member states in Marrakech to discuss global preparedness for pandemics. — Reuters/File
The World Health Organisation announced on Monday that next month it will bring together ministers of health, finance and foreign affairs of its member states in Marrakech to discuss global preparedness for pandemics. — Reuters/File

WASHINGTON: The World Health Organisation announced on Monday that next month it will bring together ministers of health, finance and foreign affairs of its member states in Marrakech to discuss global preparedness for pandemics.

This health diplomacy meeting will focus on “what can be done to improve global” response to outbreaks of deadly diseases, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a tweet.

He also “stressed the importance of the international community working together” to roll back the outbreak of the acute Coronavirus respiratory disease that has already spread to 29 countries.

On Sunday, WHO urged people to avoid untested medicines and herbs that are being offered with claims that they can cure the novel coronavirus.

Last week, WHO declared a public health emergency of international concern over the 2019nCoV outbreak.

On Monday, WHO also issued recommendations to prevent and limit the further spread of this virus, calling on “all countries to implement decisions that are evidence-based and consistent.”

The recommendations stressed the need to “accelerate the development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics” to prevent further spread of this dangerous disease. “We need strong public-private partnership to find solutions,” Tedros wrote in one of his tweets.

He once again clarified that the decision to declare a public health emergency was not a vote of confidence against China’s health system. “The decision … was taken primarily because of the signs of human-to-human transmission outside China and our concern of what might happen if the virus were to spread in a country with a weaker health system,” he said.

The recommendations also emphasised the need to combat the spread of rumours and misinformation. “We must review preparedness plans, identify gaps and evaluate the resources needed to identify, isolate and care for cases, and prevent transmission,” Tedros said.

Underlining the importance of sharing data, sequences, knowledge and experience with each other, WHO reminded the global community: “The only way we will defeat the 2019nCoV outbreak is for all countries to work together in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation.”

Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2020

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