Prepare for future pandemics, WHO chief says in stark end-of-year message | World News - Hindustan Times
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Prepare for future pandemics, WHO chief says in stark end-of-year message

Dec 26, 2023 08:08 PM IST

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries around the world to work on a "monumental" pandemic accord.

The world needs to properly prepare for future pandemics after three years of Covid “crisis, pain and loss”, the head of the World Health Organisation said in his end-of-year message, as per news agency AFP. World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said 2023 had marked a turning point in fighting major health challenges as it brought “immense and avoidable suffering” throughout the world.

Director General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (AFP)
Director General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (AFP)

Calling for ramped-up relief efforts for the Gaza Strip, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries around the world to work on a "monumental" pandemic accord to plug preparedness gaps. These foibles were exposed during the Covid pandemic in the world, he said.

"This marked a turning point for the world following three years of crisis, pain and loss for people everywhere," he recalled in a video message, adding, "I'm glad to see that life has returned to normal."

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Tedros said Azerbaijan, Belize and Tajikistan were declared malaria-free while the world should be more concerned about the health impacts of climate change which featured prominently at COP28.

"2023 has also been a year of immense and avoidable suffering and threats to health," he said as he spoke of the "barbaric" Hamas attacks on Israel, "followed by the unleashing of a devastating attack on Gaza."

The bloodiest ever Gaza war erupted when Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7 and killed about 1,140 people, mostly civilians. They took 250 hostages of whom 129 remain inside Gaza following which Israel launched an extensive aerial bombardment and ground invasion that has killed 20,915 people, mostly women and children.

"Relief efforts are not coming close to meeting the needs of people in Gaza," he said warning that a resurgence of cholera, with a record number of 40-plus outbreaks around the world, is also “especially concerning.”

"But 2024 offers a unique opportunity to address these gaps," he said, explaining that a “pandemic accord is being designed to bridge the gaps in global collaboration, cooperation and equity.”

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