当前位置:首页 > health > 正文内容

The Conversation: The next once-a-century pandemic is coming sooner than you think – but Covid-19 can help us get ready

admin3天前health351

Covid-19 is being referred to as a "once in a century event" – but the next pandemic is likely to hit sooner than you think.

In the next few decades, we will likely see other pandemics. We can predict that with reasonable confidence because of the recent increased frequency of major epidemics (such as SARS and Ebola), and because of social and environmental changes driven by humans that may have contributed to Covid-19's emergence.

READ MORE:
• Coronavirus: Crematorium data indicates China was lying about Covid-19
• Covid-19 coronavirus: Virus lockdown restrictions squash flu
• Covid 19 coronavirus China: Beijing in lockdown after food market cluster identified
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Frustration as stranded Kiwi family endures life in a shed

A Covid-19-type pandemic had long been predicted, but scientists' warnings weren't heeded. Right now, while we have the full attention of politicians and other key decision-makers, we need to start rethinking our approaches to future preparedness internationally and within our own nations. That includes countries like New Zealand, where – despite getting its active Covid-19 cases down to zero in June 2020 – big challenges remain.

Advertisement Advertise with NZME.

We can't say we weren't warned

Less than five years ago, I was one of about 100 global experts invited to a World Health Organisation (WHO) meeting in Geneva, prompted by the then ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Airport Oaks Covid 19 Testing station in Mangere. Photo / Sylvie Whinray Airport Oaks Covid 19 Testing station in Mangere. Photo / Sylvie Whinray

Then, as now, WHO was criticised for its response to the outbreak. The December 2015 meeting was meant to improve international collaboration and preparation for future epidemics and other infectious disease risks.

The very last presentation was from Dr David Nabarro, then the United Nations Special Envoy on Ebola (and now a Special Envoy on Covid-19).

In the wake of the Ebola outbreak, politicians were more focused on public health than ever before. Nabarro urged us to show greater leadership and capture that interest, before political and public attention moved on. He stressed the importance of trust, respect, transparent communication, and working with nature.

Yet five years later, we're still talking about inadequate funding for pandemic preparedness; delays in adopting preventive measures; failure to develop surge capacity in health systems, laboratories and supply chain logistics; and reduced infectious disease expertise.

BUSINESS 15 Jun, 2020 9:43am 2 minutes to read ENTERTAINMENT 15 Jun, 2020 9:12am Quick Read BUSINESS 15 Jun, 2020 9:08am 3 minutes to read NEW ZEALAND | Health 15 Jun, 2020 9:21am 4 minutes to read

But there are signs that some lessons may have been learned. For example, countries most affected by SARS (such as Taiwan and Singapore) have tended to respond more quickly and decisively to Covid-19 than other countries.

Subscribe to Premium

Primed and ready, vaccine developers have progressed at enormous pace, with several Covid-19 vaccine candidates already undergoing clinical trials. The volume and pace of sharing scientific information about Covid-19 has been unprecedented.

Advertisement Advertise with NZME.

We've also seen a number of rapid reports urging us to learn from this pandemic and past epidemics to protect us from future events – especially by taking an holistic "One Health" approach. This brings together expertise across human health, animal health and the environment.

For instance, last month the Lancet One Health Commission called for more transdisciplinary collaboration to solve complex health challenges. Similarly, the World Wide Fund for Nature's March 2020 report on The Loss of Nature and Rise of Pandemics highlighted the likely animal origin of Covid-19, and how intimately connected the health of humans is to animal and environmental health.

What New Zealand can learn from Covid-19

As well as working more effectively together internationally, each country will need its own strategy. So what should we be doing to protect New Zealand from future infectious diseases threats?

Our health system has, for the most part, responded well to Covid-19. Our research institutions and universities have engaged quickly and effectively to provide scientific support for the public health response.

Our modelling suggests we’ve eliminated COVID-19 in New Zealand, but we shouldn’t let our guard down https://t.co/O2W9xULdUa

— Shaun Hendy (@hendysh) June 4, 2020

Yet we can and must still do better. Our expertise and systems are not always well joined up – vital for coordinated and timely responses to challenges like Covid-19.

Advertisement Advertise with NZME.

We allow scientists to work in silos, despite obvious overlapping interests and skill sets. Of particular importance for tackling infectious diseases is the need to break down artificial barriers between human, animal and environmental health.

This approach makes particular sense in New Zealand. We are an island nation vulnerable to introduced infectious diseases, and economically dependent on agriculture and the physical environment. But we're also home to an existing indigenous Māori worldview and knowledge system that emphasises interconnectivity between humans, animals and the environment.

University-led efforts, such as One Health Aotearoa, have brought together professionals and researchers from different disciplines. But more investment is needed to get even better value from such collaborations.

We need to strengthen capability in such areas as epidemiology, modelling and outbreak management, and build pandemic plans that are flexible enough to respond to all eventualities. New Zealand has a Centre of Research Excellence in plant biosecurity – but not in animal biosecurity or infectious diseases.

We also need to better integrate science and research into the health system, a key feature of the New Zealand Health Research Strategy 2017-2027. This requires a culture change so research is regarded as business as usual for district health boards, providing the science needed to inform policy, preparedness and best practice.

Crucially, we need a new generation of scientists and professionals who are systems thinkers and comfortable working with multiple disciplines and across the human-animal-environment interface.

Advertisement Advertise with NZME.

And we need the kind of leadership Nabarro called for: science-informed and forward-looking, rather than reactive.

This year, the #WorldEnvironmentDay's theme is #biodiversity, a concern that is both urgent & existential. Recent events, from bushfires and locust infestations to the global #COVID19 #pandemic demonstrate the interdependence of humans and the webs of life https://t.co/6yNnRw3VPM pic.twitter.com/uUhtf4VHfj

— Dr David Nabarro (@davidnabarro) June 5, 2020

We have seen good leadership based on science in the highest levels of New Zealand's government in response to Covid-19.

We now need to see this at all levels of health, research and politics to get us out of this pandemic in the best shape possible – and be better prepared for our next pandemic.
David Murdoch, Dean and Head of Campus, University of Otago
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
The Conversation

版权声明:本文由天辰注册发布,如需转载请注明出处。
分享给朋友:

相关文章

A major health review remains split on how to reduce persistent inequalities for Māori

COMMENT: Māori have demonstrably poorer health outcomes than other New Zealanders and this dispari...

 Coronavirus Covid 19: NZ aid agencies call on extra billion dollars in funding to fight global poverty

Coronavirus Covid 19: NZ aid agencies call on extra billion dollars in funding to fight global poverty

New Zealand aid agencies are calling on the Government for an extra billion dollars in aid funding...

Westlake Girls High School student leaves school after blackface selfie investigation

By RNZ's Eleisha Foon A student who sent a selfie via Snapchat showing her face with black paint a...

 Covid 19 coronavirus: Virus, recession keep students away from school

Covid 19 coronavirus: Virus, recession keep students away from school

A third to a half of students at some South Auckland high schools have still not come back to schoo...

Family of Kiwi Navar Herbert who died of a brain tumour the day after wedding open up about tragedy

A heartbroken mother has opened up about losing her son who died from brain cancer a day after his...

Covid 19 coronavirus: Revealed - The cost of the blanket quarantine at the border

The first 40 days of quarantining and isolating all people arriving from overseas amid the Covid-19...

发表评论

访客

◎欢迎参与讨论,请在这里发表您的看法、交流您的观点。