The United Nations has urged countries and governments across the globe to begin preparations, particularly in the areas of investments to confront future health emergencies.
Greater investments in preparedness, the UN said, would mitigate the fatalities recorded during the outbreak of coronavirus that took the world by surprise.
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said that it has become imperative for countries and governments across the world to learn lessons from the coronavirus pandemic and made adequate provisions for health emergencies particularly the projected second wave of the virus.
Through a message to commemorate the first International Day of Epidemic Preparedness on Sunday, Guterres maintained that confronting future health emergencies, there was a need for larger collaboration and preparedness by nations.
“This first observance of the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness falls at the end of a year in which a scenario many had feared came tragically true … As we strive to control and recover from the current pandemic, we must think about the next,” he said in a message.
He also highlighted the need for strong health systems and social protection, support for communities on the frontlines, and technical cooperation for countries.
“Across this work, science must be our guide. Solidarity and coordination are crucial, within and among countries; no one is safe unless all of us are safe,” the Secretary-General added.
Guterres also honoured medical professionals, front-line personnel, and essential workers globally for their “remarkable commitment” in face of the coronavirus pandemic.
“As we recover from the pandemic, let us resolve to build up our prevention capacities so that we are ready when the world faces the next outbreak,” he urged.
Similarly, the President of the General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, underscored that the “devastating experience” of the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear, the benefits of tackling epidemics.
“If we ready ourselves, then we can save lives and stop epidemics from developing into pandemics,” he said, adding that COVID-19 “must be our final warning. We cannot afford to be complacent, and we must learn from our mistakes.”
Bozkir urged everyone to join him in trusting science, supporting early warning mechanisms, and standing together in solidarity.
“We will prepare as we have never prepared before – so that epidemics and pandemics can no longer cause the kind of suffering we have seen across the globe this year,” the President of the General Assembly urged.