Global Preparedness Monitoring Board Holds First Meeting

"There's no substitute for preparedness, and investing in it should be a top priority for the entire global community," said Dr. Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group. "It is important that countries are beginning to take pandemic preparedness much more seriously."

The World Health Organization and the World Bank Group convened the first meeting of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board on Sept. 10 in Geneva, Switzerland. It is a new panel created to monitor the world's readiness to respond to outbreaks and other health emergencies.

The board's co-chairs are Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former prime minister of Norway and former WHO director-general, and Elhadj As Sy, secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The board has been established to monitor progress, identify gaps, and advocate for sustained, effective work to ensure global preparedness. At its first meeting at WHO's headquarters in Geneva, board members discussed key issues in global preparedness and agreed on its governance structure. The board plans to publish its first report on the global state of preparedness in September 2019.

"Despite all the progress we have made, the world remains vulnerable," said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO's current director-general. "The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board brings together deep experience and expertise to help keep the world safe."

"There's no substitute for preparedness, and investing in it should be a top priority for the entire global community," explained Dr. Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group. "It is important that countries are beginning to take pandemic preparedness much more seriously."

According to WHO's announcement, the board has its origins in the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Since then, WHO has undergone major transformation, with the establishment of its health emergencies programme. In WHO's new strategic five-year plan, one of the three "triple billion" targets for 2023 is to see 1 billion people better protected from health emergencies. The World Bank has established the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility and made its first cash disbursement to the Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo in May 2018. As part of its IDA 18 commitment, the World Bank is supporting the development of pandemic preparedness plans in 25 low- and lower-middle income countries. It is also investing in preparedness in several countries in the East Asia and Pacific region and in strengthening regional disease surveillance and monitoring capacity across East and West Africa.

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