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World Unprepared for Next Crisis: Red Cross

World Unprepared for Next Crisis: Red Cross

‘The next pandemic could be right around the corner; if the COVID-19 experience doesn’t hasten our preparations, what will?’

The Red Cross warned on Monday that all countries are “dangerously unprepared” for the next pandemic, and that future health crises may collide with increasingly likely climate-related disasters.

Despite three “brutal” years of the COVID-19 pandemic, strong preparedness systems are “critically lacking,” according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

Building trust, equity, and local action networks, according to the world’s largest humanitarian network, is critical for preparing for the next crisis.

“All countries remain dangerously unprepared for future outbreaks,” the IFRC concluded, concluding that governments were no better prepared in 2019 than they were in 2018.

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It stated that countries must be prepared for “multiple hazards, not just one,” and that societies can only become truly resilient by planning for multiple types of disasters, which can occur concurrently.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare cited the rise in climate-related disasters and waves of disease outbreaks this century, of which COVID-19 was just one.

It said extreme weather events were growing more frequent and intense, “and our ability to merely respond to them is limited”.

On the third anniversary of the World Health Organization declared the virus an international public health emergency, the IFRC issued two reports with recommendations for preventing future tragedies on the scale of COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 pandemic should serve as a wake-up call to the global community to start preparing for the next health crisis right now,” said IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain.

“The next pandemic could be just around the corner; if the COVID-19 experience doesn’t hasten our preparations, what will?”

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According to the report, major hazards disproportionately affect those who are already vulnerable, and leaving the poorest vulnerable exposed is “self-defeating,” as a disease can reappear in a more dangerous form.

Trust breakdown

According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, if people trusted safety messages, they would be willing to comply with public health measures and accept vaccination.

However, the organization stated that crisis responders “cannot wait until the next time to build trust,” urging long-term cultivation.

According to the IFRC, when trust is shaken, public health becomes politicized and individualized, undermining the COVID response.

It also claimed that the coronavirus pandemic had thrived on and exacerbated inequalities, with poor sanitation, overcrowding, a lack of access to health and social services, and malnutrition creating ideal conditions for the disease to thrive.

“The world must address inequitable health and socioeconomic vulnerabilities well ahead of the next crisis,” it advised.

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Local communities should also be used to perform life-saving work, according to the organization, because that is where pandemics begin and end.

The IFRC advocated for the development of pandemic response products that are less expensive, easier to store, and more easily administered.

It stated that by 2025, countries should increase domestic health finance by 1% of GDP and global health finance by at least $15 billion per year.

Over the last three years, the IFRC’s network has reached more than 1.1 billion people to help keep them safe from the COVID pandemic.

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