New Delhi: Participants at a meeting on ‘Advancing Global Health Security’ in Indonesia, organised under the aegis of WHO, said they will strengthen capacities to cope with the outbreak of Ebola, Zika and other dreaded diseases.
“They accepted that only about one third of countries in the world have the ability to assess, detect and respond to public health emergencies. Diseases like Ebola, Zika, yellow fever and other recent outbreaks have exposed these weaknesses at national, regional and international levels,” said a statement issued here by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The three-day meeting on ‘Advancing Global Health Security: From Commitments to Actions’ ended in Bali, Indonesia, on Wednesday. It brought together 250 participants from 52 countries representing 28 different organisations.
“Fortifying health security in today’s world must be a key priority of governments, multilateral agencies, development banks, and non-government organisations the world over. What matters most is maintaining the momentum and turning that into real, tangible results,” said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region.
Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said at the meeting: “The bedrock of outbreak and emergency preparedness and response is a functioning, resilient national health system — with the financing, human resources, infrastructure, information and supply management systems capable of detecting and responding to public health events.”
The members discussed the necessity of renewal of commitment to health system strengthening in line with the International Health Regulations (2005), especially in vulnerable countries.
“The true power of health systems is their ability to deliver timely, quality health services to those in need in a comprehensive way and on an adequate scale,” the WHO statement said.
“These systems are especially important during emergencies, when access to quality essential health services can be severely compromised.”
The meeting highlighted the critical importance of flexible preparedness planning, community strengthening and engagement, information sharing and strengthening of inter-sectoral collaboration of national and international partnerships.
The meeting in Bali is the second high-level WHO meeting to advance global health security. The first meeting took place in Cape Town, South Africa in July 2015.
Since then, considerable preparedness strengthening activities have taken place and been implemented, especially in vulnerable countries.