After the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014, the U.N. Secretary-General’s Global Health Crises Task Force reported the need for more vigilant and efficient monitoring of global health emergencies. As of late May 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Bank Group (WBG) have come together to address enhancing global health security.
WHO and World Bank Group
The WHO is an organization that works within the United Nations’ system to direct and coordinate authority on international health. They focus on health systems, noncommunicable and communicable diseases, promotion of health, preparedness and corporate services.
The World Bank Group focuses on every major area of development of financial products and technical assistance that creates sustainable economic growth. WBG also fosters resiliency to shocks and threats so that afflicted areas can be better prepared in emergency situations.
Global Preparedness Monitoring Board
By combining their health initiatives used in developing countries, the WHO and WBG created the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board. Its main purpose is to enhance the world’s handling of health preparedness on a global and regional scale. The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board includes political leaders, heads of U.N. agencies and internationally distinguished health experts.
The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board is centrally aimed at undertaking outbreaks, pandemics and health emergencies. It utilizes a strict system of regular independent monitoring and reporting of preparedness across the board of national governments, U.N. agencies, private sectors and civil society. The Board also advocates for keeping health crisis preparedness on the political agenda. It intends to keep the world focused on the importance of being prepared in emergency health situations.
The GPMB was created shortly after the declaration of the most recent Ebola outbreak in the Congo. This was a quick reminder of the unpredictability of outbreaks and the importance of preparedness in those types of emergency health situations. The Board’s focus on monitoring and preparedness ensures that the world never be taken by surprise again.
Breaking the Panic Cycle
Dr. Jim Yong Kim, co-leader of the GPMB creation and president of World Bank group, said, “For too long, we have allowed a cycle of panic and neglect when it comes to pandemics: we ramp up efforts when there’s a serious threat, then quickly forget about them when the threat subsides.” The GPMB is quickly working to break the cycle of panic and neglect against the recent Ebola outbreak by not allowing progress to slow at the sight of eradication.
While the GPMB has a strong global focus, it also accentuates the importance of local monitoring. It works to engage local communities in the importance of preparedness, detection, response and recovery to emergency health situations. It also holds all actors accountable for doing their part in generating sustainable financing, ensuring necessary research and development is conducted and completing essential public health capacities.
Although the creation of the GPMB is very new, it is predicted to make monumental strides in the enhancement of global health security.
– Samantha Harward