*World Health Organisation Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
The Director-General (DG) of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Mr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has called on countries of the world to invest in getting their healthcare systems fit to fight the next pandemic rather than scrambling around in panic when it hits like the ravaging Coronavirus (COVID019), which originated from Wuhan, China. The pandemic is coming a century after the infamous Spanish Flu, which also claimed a lot of lives at the time.
Ghebreyesus said investing in healthcare among others now would save lives later, as the death toll from COVID-19 surged past 250,000. He said, “The COVID-19 pandemic will eventually recede, but there can be no going back to business as usual,” he told a virtual briefing in Geneva. “We cannot continue to rush to fund panic but let preparedness go by the wayside. As we work on responding to this pandemic, we must also work harder to prepare for the next one.”
The DG of the world body said the world spends around $7.5 trillion on health each year — almost 10 per cent of global gross domestic product — but investing in preparation for emerging pathogens had been ignored for far too long. He said not only was prevention better than cure, it also proved cheaper in the long run. Again, he stated, “If we learn anything from COVID-19, it must be that investing in health now will save lives later. History will judge all of us not only on whether we got through this pandemic, but also on the lessons we learned and the actions we took once it was over.”
The novel coronavirus has killed at least 257,000 people and infected more than 3.6 million, according to an AFP tally. Tedros said that while the number of cases reported from hard-hit Western Europe was declining, more were being recorded daily in Eastern Europe, Africa, southeast Asia, the eastern Mediterranean, and the Americas. WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said he was “particularly concerned” about the virus now spreading in countries that were already suffering existing humanitarian crises, such as Yemen, Syria and Haiti.