WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus highlighted the need for global readiness after the concluding three years of Covid turmoil.
He emphasized the necessity of comprehensive preparation for future pandemics to mitigate the immense suffering experienced worldwide.
Turning Point Amidst Ongoing Challenges:
While acknowledging significant progress in combating major health crises in 2023, Tedros underscored the extensive suffering and hardships endured throughout the year. The year marked both progress in health initiatives and a multitude of avoidable adversities.
Tedros urged intensified aid efforts for Gaza and stressed the urgency of a substantial international agreement to fill the gaps in pandemic preparedness laid bare during the COVID crisis.
Health Milestones and Ongoing Concerns:
The WHO head noted critical milestones such as the termination of Covid-19 as an international public health emergency and the lifting of a similar emergency regarding mpox.
New vaccines for diseases like malaria, dengue, and meningitis were also approved. Despite these advancements, challenges like the resurgence of cholera and the implications of climate change on health persist.
Gaza Crisis and Humanitarian Appeal:
Tedros condemned the violent conflicts in Gaza, expressing deep concern about the humanitarian situation and the inadequacy of relief efforts.
He urged an immediate ceasefire and emphasized the urgency of meeting the dire needs of the affected population.
Global Pandemic Preparedness:
While highlighting the remaining gaps in emergency preparedness, Tedros emphasized the opportunity presented in 2024 for nations to negotiate a groundbreaking global agreement on pandemic threats.
This proposed “pandemic accord” aims to enhance global collaboration, cooperation, and equity in responding to future health crises.
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