“It’s as if we wait for the plane to crash,” WHO chief laments lack of long term health investment

FILE PHOTO: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus /Photo by James Chau

The world must work together to plan for long term investment in health in order to better prepare it for any future health crises, the World health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom said on Monday.

He made the remarks at the launch of the 2020 Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, which lays down lessons the world ought to learn from the current and past pandemics.

“In recent years we have seen a recurring pattern. The world throws money at an outbreak, then does little to prevent the next one,” he said.

“It’s as if we wait for the plane to crash, then call for more safety inspections. We wait until the town burns down, then decide we need a fire department. We wait until the storm comes, then try to fix the roof.”

The WHO chief’s remarks came as the number of COVID-19 infections globally surpassed the 29.03 million mark, with a death toll exceeding 924,000, according to figures published by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

He noted that investing in the health sector was a necessity for every country so as to help save lives in case of health pandemics in the future.

“Let me say it as clearly as I can: we have to work together, plan for the long term, and realize that spending on health and preparedness is not charity, it’s an investment in our future,” said Tedros.

Earlier, Tedros also urged the world not to delve into blame games regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, warning that such acts were detrimental to the fight against the pandemic.

“Pointing fingers will not make the world safer. Apportioning blame will not save a single life,” said Tedros.

“But by working together in humility and solidarity, we can ensure that a pandemic of this magnitude and severity never happens again.”