Global commissions offer ways to prepare for potential epidemics

The findings of four global commissions formed in the wake of the recent Ebola virus epidemic may offer potential ways to better prepare for global health emergencies, according to an article in the Public Library of Science.

The commissions--the World Health Organization Ebola Interim Assessment Panel; the Harvard University and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine's Independent Panel on the Global Response to Ebola; the Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future; and the United Nations High-Level Panel on the Global Response to Health Crises--were formed to critically examine the national and global response to the Ebola outbreak, and their reports should drive future reforms on responding to global pandemics, according to the article.

The industry's response to the Ebola virus could certainly resonate long-term, FierceHealthcare previously reported, especially as parts of the world now battle the outbreak of Zika.

The PLOS article examined the analyses of all four commissions on the Ebola outbreak and found that they consistently recommended strengthening national health systems, consolidating and strengthening the World Health Organization outbreak response activities and enhancing research and development for treatments.

The article also adds system-wide accountability and strong oversight from global leaders like the United Nations and World Health Assembly, especially in the form of funding, to improve the response to a future pandemic.

"The commissions' proposals are ambitious, with action needed everywhere from civil society and research laboratories to Geneva and national capitals," write the authors. "Political attention to global health security can no longer be episodic, limited to when an epidemic strikes. The commissions have defined a path forward. It would be a reckless disregard for human life and security to resist vital reforms."

To learn more:
- read the article