Geneva | After finally bringing three years of “crisis, suffering and loss” linked to Covid-19 to an end in 2023, the world must properly prepare for future pandemics, the Director-General of the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed that this year represented a turning point in the fight against major health problems, but there had also been “enormous suffering that could have been avoided.”
In his end-of-year message, Tedros called for intensifying humanitarian efforts in the Gaza Strip and urged countries to reach a “pending” agreement to fill preparedness gaps in the event of a future pandemic.
“2024 offers a unique opportunity to close these gaps,” he said, recalling that countries are negotiating the first-ever global agreement on pandemic threats.
“The pandemic deal is designed to bridge the gaps in cooperation, cooperation and justice,” he added.
Mr Tedros raised the highest level of alert on the Covid-19 pandemic in May, believing it was now sufficiently under control.
“It marked a turning point for the world after three years of crisis, suffering and loss for people around the world. I am happy to see that life has returned to normal,” the WHO chief affirmed in his video message.
The World Health Organization also raised a similar alert for smallpox (long known as monkeypox) in May 2023, while the UN health agency approved new vaccines against malaria, dengue and meningitis, Mr Tedros said. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan, Belize and Tajikistan have been declared malaria-free.
Mr. Tedros welcomed the highlighting of the health impacts of climate change during the recent COP.
The head of the World Health Organization described Hamas' attacks against Israel as “barbaric”, which led to a devastating attack on Gaza. He added, “Relief and humanitarian efforts do not meet the needs of the people of Gaza,” reiterating the World Health Organization's call for an immediate ceasefire.
Regarding the re-emergence of cholera, with a record number of more than 40 epidemic outbreaks recorded around the world, he noted that the situation is “particularly worrying.”
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