The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) released its annual report Monday, noting that Covid-19 revealed the world’s “collective failure” to prepare and calling for a renewed commitment to collaboration and the World Health Organization (WHO).
GPMB is an independent body, convened by the WHO and the World Bank, to ensure preparedness for global health crises.
In its 2019 report, the board noted that “a rapidly spreading pandemic due to a lethal respiratory pathogen” was a real threat, and that the world was not prepared, financially or structurally.
Among the lessons learned from Covid-19, the board notes that a pandemic can wreak havoc on social and economic systems, in addition to health.
Political leadership matters, the report says, especially when leaders realize that they do not need to choose between protecting people or the economy.
The board says it’s worth investing in pandemic preparedness, noting: “It would take 500 years to spend as much on investing in preparedness as the world is losing due to COVID-19.”
The board calls for immediate action moving forward, including responsible leadership and ensuring fair access to vaccines.
“Each country should get an initial allocation of vaccine sufficient to cover at least 2% of its population, to cover frontline healthcare workers,” the report says.
The board also calls on ordinary citizens to step up, by holding their governments accountable and taking health precautions to protect one another.
The report notes that women in particular are bearing the brunt of the pandemic, while remaining inadequately involved in preparedness and response.