WHO Urges Global Pandemic Accord in 2024, Calls for Relief Efforts in Gaza

Tue Dec 26 2023
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GENEVA: World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus emphasized the need for global preparedness in addressing future pandemics after the conclusion of three years of the Covid-19 crisis.

While Tedros acknowledged 2023 as a turning point in the fight against major health challenges, he also expressed concern over the “immense and avoidable suffering” witnessed during the year.

Tedros called for increased relief efforts in the Gaza Strip, emphasizing the humanitarian crisis resulting from the ongoing Israeli bombardments. He urged nations to come together and establish a “monumental” pandemic accord to address gaps in preparedness that were exposed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

WHO Ended International Public Health Emergency Related to Covid-19 in May 2023

The WHO officially ended the international public health emergency related to Covid-19 in May 2023, marking what Tedros referred to as a turning point “following three years of crisis, pain, and loss.” The organization also lifted a similar emergency related to smallpox in the same month, while approving new vaccines for malaria, dengue, and meningitis. Notably, Azerbaijan, Belize, and Tajikistan were declared malaria-free during the year.

The WHO’s call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza reflects the organization’s concern that relief efforts are falling short of meeting the urgent needs of the affected population.

The resurgence of cholera, with over 40 outbreaks globally, was also a point of concern mentioned by Tedros. As the WHO concludes its 75th year, Tedros stressed that significant gaps in global readiness to prevent the next pandemic persist. Looking ahead to 2024, he sees a unique opportunity for countries to negotiate the first-ever global agreement on pandemic threats, referred to as the “pandemic accord.”

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