Here is a compilation of expert opinions from the Global Health Experts, who spoke to Dr. Grace Ikahu Muchangi on what we need to do in order to be prepared for the next pandemic.
- Global Leadership is critical
International Leadership is critical to overcoming the next pandemic, rather than piecemeal efforts by individual countries witnessed under the current pandemic. According to Dr Ivana Haluskova – Balter, this will lead to a well-coordinated regional and global plan with clear accountability and efficacy.
Dr. Rajeev Mehta further suggests that the world may need to consider a voluntary Global Lockdown for at least 2 weeks every year.
- Learning lessons from the current pandemic
It may be difficult to be fully prepared for another pandemic, but we can learn from the major challenges and treatment modalities for management of the next pandemic
- Strengthened Surveillance Systems
There is a need for constant surveillance and strengthening of surveillance systems, says Dr Ivana Haluskova – Balter.
According to Lamek Mageto, the next generation of global health leaders should embrace a system thinking design that allows trans-disciplinary collaboration and sharing information to beef up surveillance and response to possible threats.
Judy Getugi-Kerini also advises that we need to collect information in order to constantly be informed of what is happening in the rest of the world.
Dennis Okaka agrees that our ability to predict and respond to the data we have will make the difference between life and death during pandemics.
- Information systems for early detection, confirmation and tracking of cases
Public health laboratories should be strengthened to facilitate early detection and confirmation of cases. They should also have real-time data sharing to guide decision-making and coordinated response during pandemics.
Health systems need to be ready to collect and analyze healthcare data on a massive scale. This is currently not being done in Africa. Some country systems, such as South Korea and Iceland have capabilities to do wide-scale testing and tracking for diseases, including COVID-19 on their populations.
- Invest more in Health
More investment is needed in health to control future pandemics, particularly in health infrastructure (Gratien Mukeshimana), as well as preventive care and health financing to ensure access to healthcare for most people including the most vulnerable (Ndiang’ui Githinji).
Dr Ivana Haluskova – Balter also highlights that investment in human capital, supplies, infrastructure and essential health services can help to interrupt future global health threats and minimize risks for patients and health personnel.
- One Health Approach
Lamek Mageto singles out that the global community needs to embrace a One Health approach to prevent future pandemics. He adds that there is a need to ensure that one health issues are incorporated in the medical curriculum, to enhance the capacity of healthcare professionals to handle potential outbreaks.
- Training and research
Continuous training of health care workers on new developments in healthcare is important to prepare for future pandemics ~ Judy Getugi-Kerini