Strengthening National Health Systems' Capacity to Respond to Future Global Pandemics
McMaster Health Forum: Hamilton, Ontario, November 2013.
Posted: 1 Feb 2016
Date Written: November 4, 2013
Effective pandemic governance is more important now than ever before. Especially since pandemic risk factors such as globalization, urbanization, international trade, and rapid population growth are contributing to its fast spread. In today's world, pandemics can spread within hours across continents instead of years making the consequences of such an issue catastrophic. Pandemic response requires that health systems build adequate capacity to support and maintain well-coordinated pandemic governance architecture. However, key challenges exist to do so, some of these are:
(1) pandemics challenge conventional systems of governance;
(2) timely information sharing and evidence-informed decision-making is difficult;
(3) domestic and international partners often encounter coordination problems;
(4) public health and animal health perspectives can be difficult to reconcile;
(5) antimicrobial resistance represents a growing threat; and
(6) risk and protective factors for pandemics.
To properly address these issues countries need to take a comprehensive approach consisting of three main elements:
(1) enhance national health systems' ability to detect pandemic risk factors, identify the causal pathogens, characterize emerging diseases and monitor their evolution;
(2) strengthen the capacity of national policymakers and stakeholders and the public to respond to the variability of pandemics; and
(3) strengthen the global pandemic governance system.
Achieving meaningful change in this area will not be without its challenges, however any change will require a comprehensive and truly global approach.
Keywords: pandemic, global, globalization, urbanization, international, trade, goverance, pathogen, coordination, public, health
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