Global Health Asia-Pacific Issue 2 | 2023 | Page 60


WHO drafts new plan for unified global cooperation to prevent next pandemic

International collaboration needed to avoid repeat of COVID-19 mismanagement
“ The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the many flaws in the global system to protect people from pandemics .”

Member states of the World Health Organization ( WHO ) have begun formalising a set of coordinated measures to prevent and manage a future global pandemic .

The efforts are in response to the international community ’ s catastrophic failure to present a unified front in addressing the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic , which led to more than 750 million confirmed cases of the infection and 6.8 million deaths worldwide , according to the WHO .
“ The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the many flaws in the global system to protect people from pandemics : the most vulnerable people going without vaccines ; health workers without needed equipment to perform their life-saving work� and �me-first ’ approaches that stymie the global solidarity needed to deal with a global threat ,” said WHO Director General , �r Tedros Adhanom �hebreyesus in an official statement . He hailed the consensus among nations worldwide to negotiate pandemic handling measures as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to strengthen the global health architecture to protect and promote the well-being of every individual .
Formation of a new WHO body and a new draft prevention plan In December 2021 , the World Health Assembly , the decision-making body for the WHO , conducted its first negotiations on the new prevention plan and established the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body ( INB ) to draft and negotiate a new WHO convention and agreement to provide a coordinated and effective global response to future pandemic incidences .
At its meeting on March 3 this year , members prepared the “ zero draft ” convention known as WHO CA +, based on the conceptual zero draft and input received by member states . The preparation of the draft will continue over the next year .
Dr Leong Hoe Nam , an infectious disease specialist at the Rophi Clinic in Singapore , told Global Health �sia��aci�c that the draft was a good starting point as it recognised governments ’ failures to work together during COVID-19 and the need for common rules on information and data sharing that could allow countries to better control the next pandemic , leading to fewer deaths and less economic damage .
However , he also believes it will take time for the member states to find a compromise , especially in today ’ s political climate . “ The lengthy paper has high expectations , but I have doubts that it can be approved and endorsed by the WHO and member states in 2-3 years ,” he said , noting that the current tensions between the US , Europe , Russia , and China were not helpful .
Vision and objective of the WHO CA + The draft envisions a world in which pandemics are effectively contained in order to preserve the livelihood
The WHO initiates a unified effort for pandemic prevention .
58 ISSUE 2 | 2023 GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com