WHO chief also condemned the “dangerously short-sighted” cycle of throwing cash at outbreaks but doing nothing to prepare for the next one.
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) chief said he coronavirus crisis will not be the last pandemic and attempts to improve human health are “doomed” without tackling climate change and animal welfare.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a video message marking Sunday’s first International Day of Epidemic Preparedness, also condemned the “dangerously short-sighted” cycle of throwing cash at outbreaks but doing nothing to prepare for the next one.
It was time to learn the lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic, the WHO director-general said.
“For too long, the world has operated on a cycle of panic and neglect,” Mr Ghebreyesus said.
“We throw money at an outbreak, and when it’s over, we forget about it and do nothing to prevent the next one. This is dangerously short-sighted, and frankly difficult to understand.”
Published a few months before the novel coronavirus broke out, the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board’s September 2019 first annual report on world readiness for health emergencies said the planet was woefully unprepared for potentially devastating pandemics.
“History tells us that this will not be the last pandemic, and epidemics are a fact of life,” he said.
“The pandemic has highlighted the intimate links between the health of humans, animals and planet”.
“Any efforts to improve human health are doomed unless they address the critical interface between humans and animals, and the existential threat of climate change that’s making our earth less habitable,” he added.