After Ebola, World Still Unprepared for Global Pandemic

The world is no better prepared today than a year ago to respond to Ebola or other epidemics. 

Health News
2 min read
Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare to carry an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia. (Photo: Reuters)

The global health system is unable to handle another mass epidemic like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Médecins Sans Frontières said, urging wealthy nations to develop coordinated response plans and drugs to fight neglected diseases.

Late and slow international response, the absence of solid leadership as well as the lack of treatments and vaccines are a recurrent scenario in many of today’s health emergencies and are not unique to the Ebola epidemic, the medical charity said.

Joanne Liu, the international president of MSF, said in a statement that world is unprepared.

If a global pandemic were to strike tomorrow, there is still no well-resourced, coordinated international response in place to kick in.
– Joanne Liu, MSF

Immediate Plan of Action

The Ebola epidemic was detected in Guinea more than a year ago, and spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone, killing more than 11,000 people.

World leaders from Germany, the United States, Britain, France, Canada, Italy and Japan will meet in Germany next week, and are expected to discuss Ebola and other neglected diseases, among other issues, MSF said.

Lack of Funding

It said too little funding goes into the development of new drugs and vaccines for neglected diseases, or those that have proven resistant to available treatments.

Moreover, many of these medicines are priced out of reach, the charity said.

Millions of people suffer from diseases for which there are no effective drugs or vaccines, because they don’t represent a lucrative market for the pharmaceutical industry.
– Philipp Frisch, MSF

Urgent Need to Combat TB

Drug-resistant tubercolosis (TB) is one of the health emergencies for which new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics are urgently needed, according to MSF.

The organisation said it treats thousands of people each year for drug-resistant TB while managing to cure only one in two, and some forms of the disease are no longer treatable due to resistance to existing drugs.

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