WHO Report Calls For Better Preparation For Next Epidemic

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Three experts in infectious disease discuss how the world is unprepared for another outbreak.

FOX’s Jessica Rosenthal reports in the “Housecall for Health”:

This is Housecall for Health.

According to a new report from the World Health Organization, the majority of countries in the world are not prepared for the next pandemic.

An international coalition of journalists met with the WHO’s Director-General to address the findings.

An evaluation of the overall preparedness of 38 countries and territories in 30 countries focused on six possible ‘tick-boxes’ that could indicate full or partial preparation. Of those, only six met each criterion. The report warns that the current numbers are inadequate.

Dr. Yves Fortier, Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases for the WHO, highlighted some of the big ones:

(Fortier) “We do not yet have a health and security policy for an international pandemic.”

Dr. Bruce Aylward, the WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Security, says countries in Western Europe and the US are making slow progress, while countries like France, Sweden and Brazil have made progress, but have a ways to go.

(Aylward) “The world, perhaps, looks worse, and may indeed, than it actually is in terms of preparedness because countries like Sweden are ahead of the US in this respect and there are places like France.”

Dr. Peter Piot, Chairman of the Global Virus Network and co-director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine says the pandemic scenario includes one or more natural pathogens in circulation that may be fatal or both. Dr. Emily Wilkinson, from the Wellcome Trust, says for the next pandemic, our current funding is not keeping up with the rise in the number of infectious diseases.

For more on this story, check FOXNewsHealth.com.

Housecall for Health, I’m Jessica Rosenthal, FOX News.

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