Agenda Introduction:Throughout history, diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis -on both a local and global scale- have always been deadly to humanity. More recently, the Ebola outbreak of 2014 has killed approximately 11,000 people.
When an epidemic starts, it could be devastating to the global community. However, whenever such crises began, rarely were there very quick, effective solutions that immediately combatted the deadly diseases. Due to the slow reaction, many people have been unnecessarily sacrificed, and it is necessary that there are clear standards and guidelines that countries follow to make sure the epidemic is solved quickly. Definition of Key TermsEpidemic: The occurrence of more cases of a disease than would be expected in a community or region during a given time periodPandemic: A worldwide spread of a new diseaseNon-communicable diseases (NCD): also known as chronic diseases, tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behaviours factors // a medical condition or disease that is not caused by infectious agentsCommunicable diseases: an infectious disease transmissible (as from person to person) by direct contact with an affected individual or the individual’s discharges or by indirect meansBiosecurity / Biosafety: procedures intended to protect humans or animals against disease or harmful biological agentsStatus QuoCurrently, the WHO has made great progress to solve the issue of creating international standards for responding to diseases. On May 28th, 2016, the 69th session of the General assembly discussed on how to solve and combat epidemics and pandemics on a global scale. In the session, the World Health Organization acknowledged the efforts of multiple related organizations that helped decrease the damage done by various epidemics and diseases such as the Zika virus and Ebola. However, the UN also addressed the different problems that may occur when too many organizations work together: it focused especially on the potential conflict of interest among multiple organizations.
It warned that without the cooperation of different non-governmental, philanthropic, charitable and academic organizations, it would be impossible to solve the problem of the status quo. To combat the plurality of different organizations, the WHO adopted a policy named WHO Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA). This framework ensures that the number of new organizations emerging during a new disease outbreak is minimized, and to provide existent organizations with effective and thorough policies in times of crises. It finally tries to assess an organization’s transparency, accountability, due diligence, and other important aspects necessary for cooperation. Many other steps were taken to solve the problem of creating an international framework in times of epidemics. The WHO has always, and is still developing its vaccination programs to increase accessibility of vaccines to children living in poor countries. HistoryOn February 2014, the devastating Ebola outbreak started in West Africa, killing thousands of innocent individuals.
Despite the urgency and potential peril of the deadly disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) was unable to effectively tackle the problem, eventually bringing great criticism against WHO’s response to epidemic crises. Many nations that were affected by Ebola in the early stage was unable to figure out a solution to the outbreak as there was a lack of not only technology, but also doctors and important personnel. Even after quite a while, nations that successfully detected the disease were still unable to find a solution, as it did not have an effective strategy to respond to the issue. Since then, the issue of creating international standards to respond to such disease outbreaks have become an issue of utmost importance to the WHO.An epidemic of a smaller scale named Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS – Cov) also threatened many nations in Africa. In the beginning of the outbreak of the disease, it was only thought to be a regional issue to be settled in Africa and the Middle East. However, due to the lack of a sophisticated framework to combat the epidemic, the disease started to spread around the world, as it affected the Republic of Korea in 2015.
Other than such diseases similar to Ebola, the WHO has always tried to solve the problem for both communicable, and non-communicable diseases. In other words, the committee has focused on solving both issues such as diabetes and obesity, and diseases caused by viruses. In the early 20th century, many influenza-induced communicable diseases brought political instability and deaths to the world. Of such diseases, the Spanish Flu (H1N1) was a disease of great significance as it had immense rates for both mortality and transmission. It infected around 500 million people around the world, with a fatality rate above 2.
5%. To respond to such a dangerous disease, in 1919, the League of Nations formulated a set of international regulations specific to the disease. When the Spanish Flu emerged once again in 2009, the WHO devised new plans and international standards to combat the issue by attempting to provide vaccination for the public. The WHO also has tackled non-communicable diseases throughout history.
Especially for obesity, a worldwide problem with 2.1 billion people affected by 2014, the WHO launched many projects and created international guidelines to solve the problem. Since the 1990s, the WHO created campaigns and projects that would make professionals and the public aware of the fact that obesity was a significant problem. Moreover, the WHO also created a set of international guidelines for major non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, and helped prevent, control, and surveil such diseases.
Involved Nations/OrganizationsEuropean Union Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)An organization established in 2005 with the purpose of increasing Europe’s defense against infectious diseases. “ECDC works in three key strategic areas: it provides evidence for effective and efficient decision-making, it strengthens public health systems, and it supports the response to public health threats.” – ECDC pageEuropean Influenza Surveillance Network (EISN)A group in coordination with the ECDC that tackles information gathering and health issues on especially Influenza.Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), also known as the Health Department, is a cabinet-level department of the U.
S. federal government with the goal of protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human servicesThe Global Health Network The Global Health Network aims to accelerate and streamline research through this innovative digital platform. The idea is to provide a mechanism for facilitating collaboration and resource sharing for global health.Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)UNAIDS is leading the global effort to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.
*Note: These are just few of the NGOs/IGOs working on solving the issue, and there are many other organizations involved. Future OutlookDisease outbreaks have always been a global problem and acting upon those diseases has been and always will be one of the most important jobs for scientists and researchers. Moreover, as the worldwide population continues to grow, pandemics on a global scale are a growing problem for the society. Recently, the international community has “recognised the need to invest to improve our ability to respond to new threats and prepare itself with a novel research and development paradigm to address future epidemics.
“. Consequently, the World Health Organization published a list of emerging pathogens that are most likely to cause severe outbreaks. The scientists concluded that diseases such as Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), Ebola virus disease(EVD) , Lassa fever, MERS and SARS coronavirus diseases, need urgent attention.
Many scientists and researchers believe that technology will play a large role in preventing and responding to disease outbreaks in the future. It is expected that big data will be a useful tool in the prevention of diseases. Advanced computer technology allows us to store and and process massive amounts of data, will have a transformative effect on health care.Possible SolutionsThe absence of clear guidelines in the international level with respect to preparedness for and response to health crises has been a critical factor in undermining effective action. There must be detailed standards on how to effectively react to disease outbreaks. Because a functioning outbreak response system must have many trained health workers, increasing investment in the training of health professionals may be an effective way to tackle this issue. It is also essential that all countries comply with existing guidelines and standards in response to disease outbreaks such as the International Health Regulations (IHR).
This can be done by strengthening WHO’s periodic review of compliance with the IHR Core Capacity requirements. “The IHR, represent an agreement between 196 countries including all WHO Member States to work together for global health security.Through IHR, countries have agreed to build their capacities to detect, assess and report public health events. WHO plays the coordinating role in IHR and, together with its partners, helps countries to build capacities.”In order to prevent deaths of thousands of men, women and children due to disease outbreaks, it is necessary that the WHO takes early action in response to an initial report of an outbreak. The WHO must immediately strengthen its leadership by establishing a center for pandemics preparedness.
If the center is properly funded and takes full authority when acting upon initial disease outbreaks, epidemics may be prevented. ConclusionDelegates should keep in mind that disease outbreaks and pandemics are serious global problems that must be addressed immediately. Therefore, delegates should try to come up with plausible solutions to this issue and develop a transparent protocol to immediately response to outbreaks.