This excerpt was originally published on Global Health Now's website.
In his newly released book, The End of Epidemics: The Looming Threat to Humanity and How to Stop It, Jonathan D. Quick, MD analyzes local and global efforts to contain diseases like influenza, AIDS, SARS, and Ebola. Quick proposes a new set of actions, coined “The Power of Seven,” to end epidemics before they can begin.
The Ebola epidemic was raging in West Africa. Management Sciences for Health’s staff in Liberia relayed that “treatment facilities are overrun with cases” and “whole parts of the health system are at a standstill.” Things got much worse before the epidemic was finally defeated. Over 11,000 people died horribly from the disease, leaving more than 16,000 children orphaned.
On November 13, approximately 100 global health security and development experts, public health practitioners, private sector representatives, academics, researchers, NGO staff members, scientists and students gathered at Harvard Medical School for the Ready Together Conference on Epidemic Preparedness. The day-long event was co-hosted by No More Epidemics, Management Sciences for Health (MSH), Harvard Global Health Institute, and Georgetown University Center for Global Health Science and Security with support from the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Foundation.
Irrational medicine use and poor pharmaceutical management are widespread problems throughout all levels of Sierra Leone’s health system. Misuse, underuse, and overuse of medicines are particularly worrying because they contribute to the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and threaten the effective prevention and treatment of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, and viruses.
In 2014, an Ebola outbreak that started in Guinea and quickly spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone threatened health systems across West Africa. During the crisis, the Côte d’Ivoire National Institute of Public Health (INSP) mobilized a One Health cross-sectoral collaboration in the country’s western regions bordering the Ebola-affected countries and established committees to address the epidemic.
At the 4th Global Health Security High-Level Ministerial Meeting held in Uganda on October 25-27, “Health Security for All: Engaging Communities, Non-governmental Organizations, and the Private Sector,” more than 600 participants including ministers from 41 countries recommitted to and eagerly embraced the agreements made under the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) to accelerate progress toward a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats.
This article was first published on the Brookings Institute Future Development Blog, found here.
When epidemics or pandemics hit, they usually hit the poor first and worst. We have known this for a while. The German pathologist Rudolf Virchow described this link between poverty and vulnerability to outbreaks in his 1848 study of a typhus epidemic in Upper Silesia: "For there can now no longer be any doubt that such an epidemic dissemination of typhus had only been possible under the wretched conditions of life that poverty and lack of culture had created in Upper Silesia."
Last week, the World Health Organization elected Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as its next Director General. Amid his controversial campaign, I coauthored an open letter to the next Director General to prioritize factory farming, an eminent threat to global health. This letter, signed by over 200 experts in relevant fields, attracted a large degree of media attention in the New York Times, Lancet, Guardian, Huffington Post, and elsewhere.
Abstract: Although the risk of onset in the next year, or in the next decade, cannot be quantified, a severe pandemic involving person-to-person transmission of a novel respiratory virus is considered by leading organizations to be a substantial global threat. The ongoing threat posed by the H5N1 and H7N9 avian influenza viruses, and by the MERS coronavirus, should serve to remind us of the continuing importance of pandemic preparedness. In a severe pandemic from a rapidly spreading novel respiratory virus, when all countries and all responding organizations will themselves b
To mitigate the cross-border and national impacts of infectious disease threats, the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) was launched in 2014 to foster a collaborative approach to improve nations’ capacities to detect, prevent and respond to threats whether occurring naturally, deliberately or by accident. Law itself is not an explicit part of the overall GHSA, except in one package, Respond 2, that links public health with law and a multi-sectoral rapid response.
Global health advocates are urging G20 leaders to emphasize global health security by strengthening health systems in the poorest countries, reported Andrew Green in Devex December 21, 2016. Previous G-20 summits have addressed individual epidemics, but public health professionals and advocates are urging the forum to widen its lens to include health systems, which form the first line of defense in emergencies. They hope the effort might ultimately help advance universal health coverage, which campaigners argue would provide the best guard against future epidemics.
The July 2014 arrival of Ebola virus in Nigeria could have been yet another tragic chapter in the spread of a deadly wave of disease that swept across West Africa. Many in the global health world credit Nigeria’s ability to quickly set up a public health emergency operation center (PHEOC) as key to preventing the emergence of Ebola virus across the country. The Nigeria public health emergency operation center effectively mobilized the expertise, infrastructure, and partner organizations from its polio eradication campaign to prevent the emergence of Ebola.
In 2012, I had the privilege of working with Taiwan’s Department of Health, assessing its public health emergency preparedness programs. It quickly became obvious that preparedness for epidemics was a top priority for good reason: In 2003,Taiwan was hit hard by the global SARS epidemic, suffering nearly 700 infections and 200 deaths—and losing nearly half a percentage point of its Gross Domestic Product. Since SARS, Taiwan has worked hard to develop its preparedness capacities.