G7, We Can Prevent Pandemics

G7, We Can Prevent Pandemics

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman}Photo credit: Warren Zelman

This post appears in its entirety on HuffPost Impact.

Pandemics are back on the agenda for the 2016 G7 Summit, which convenes this week in Ise-Shima, Japan. The Group of Seven is expected to further its commitments to global health security.

Look what has happened in less than one year since the G7 last met (June 2015), just after the Ebola crisis peaked at over 26,300 cases, 10,900 deaths.

Zika hit the Americas and beyond, causing agony for pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, thousands of newborns with Zika-related abnormalities, and their families. Yellow Fever reclaimed ground in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, already infecting well over 2,000 people. Just last week the World Health Organization (WHO) was considering it as an epidemic of international concern. MERS, cholera, influenza, dengue, chikungunya, and malaria persist—mostly in places where health systems are least equipped to contain infectious diseases. ...

Investing in pandemic response is vital to safeguard people in every nation. At the same time, preventing future infectious disease outbreaks—which will happen—from exploding into regional epidemics and global pandemics requires much greater investment in prevention. ...

Are we ready and willing to prevent epidemics, forever?

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Jonathan D. Quick, MD, MPH (), is President & CEO of Management Sciences for Health, a Harvard Medical School faculty member, and author of The End of Epidemics: The looming threat to humanity and how to stop it (St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan, U.S. and Scribe, UK and Australia, 2017).