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Covid-19: Make it the Last Pandemic Report

  • 13 May 2021
  • 5 min read

Why in News

Recently, an independent global panel, the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR) in its report named "Covid-19: Make it the Last Pandemic concluded that the catastrophic scale of the Covid-19 pandemic could have been prevented.

Key points

  • Reasons for Inflated Covid Catastrophe:
    • Bad Decisions:
      • A series of bad decisions meant Covid-19 went on to kill at least 3.3 million people so far and devastate the global economy.
      • Poor strategic choices, unwillingness to tackle inequalities and an uncoordinated system created a toxic cocktail which allowed the pandemic to turn into a catastrophic human crisis.
    • Failure of Institutions:
      • Institutions failed to protect people and science-denying leaders eroded public trust in health interventions.
      • The threat of a pandemic had been overlooked and countries were woefully unprepared to deal with one.
    • Lack of Urgency:
      • Early responses to the outbreak detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019 lacked urgency, with February 2020 a costly "lost month" as countries failed to heed the alarm.
    • Delay:
      • The emergence of Covid-19 was characterised by a mixture of some early and rapid action, but also by delay, hesitation, and denial.
      • WHO could have declared the situation a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), its highest level of alarm in January 2020.
  • Recommendations:
    • Rich Should Help Poor:
      • Rich, well-vaccinated countries should provide the 92 poorest territories in the Covax scheme with at least one billion vaccine doses by September 2021, and more than two billion by mid-2022.
      • The G7 industrialised nations should pay 60% of the USD19 billion required to fund vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics via the WHO's access to Covid Tools Accelerator programme in 2021.
      • G20 nations and others should provide the rest.
    • International Organizations should Facilitate Technology Transfer:
      • The WHO and the World Trade Organization (WTO) should also get major vaccine-producing countries and manufacturers to agree to voluntary licensing and technology transfers for Covid-19 vaccines.
        • If actions do not occur within three months, a waiver of intellectual property rights should come into force immediately.
        • India and South Africa are already attempting to get WTO member countries to agree to such a waiver to fight the pandemic equitably.
  • Suggestions to Prevent Future Pandemics:
    • Global Health Threats Council:
      • To tackle future outbreaks and pandemics, the panel called for a Global Health Threats Council made up of world leaders, plus a pandemic convention.
    • International Pandemic Financing Facility:
      • The G20 should also create an International Pandemic Financing Facility, able to spend USD 5-10 billion a year on preparedness, with USD 50 to USD 100 billion ready to roll in the event of a crisis.
    • Overhauling WHO :
      • Proposed an overhaul of the WHO to give it greater control over its funding and more authority for its leadership.
      • Its alert system needed to be faster and it should have the authority to send expert missions to countries immediately without waiting for their green light.

Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response

  • About:
    • It was established in 2020 by the WHO Director-General in response to the World Health Assembly resolution 73.1.
      • Resolution 73.1 renewed the commitment to better prepare for health emergencies and compliance with the International Health Regulations.
  • Secretariat:
    • The Independent Panel is supported by its own independent Secretariat, based in Geneva.
  • Mission:
    • To provide an evidence-based path for the future, grounded in lessons of the present and the past to ensure countries and global institutions, including specifically WHO, effectively address health threats.

Source:TH

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