WASHINGTON, October 24, 2022 – As the world continues to grapple with the devastating effects of COVID-19, the World Bank today released a new report that offers concrete solutions to end the cycle of devastating pandemics.
The rate of emerging infectious disease (EID) epidemics has increased at an average annual rate of 6.7% from 1980 and the number of epidemics has increased to several hundred per year since 2000. This is largely due to the fact that humans are expanding their global footprint, altering natural habitats and accelerating the spread of animal microbes into human populations.
Seventy-five percent of EIDs and almost all known pandemics result from increased contact between animals and humans, causing more than a billion human infections and a million deaths each year. This, coupled with the increasing movement of goods and people around the world, has demonstrated the ease of spread and volatility of EIDs.
In Putting Pandemics Behind Us: Investing in One Health to Reduce Risks of Emerging Infectious Diseases, policymakers, governments and the international community are urged to invest in pandemic prevention and move away from the usual risk-based approach. containment and control. after the onset of illness. The report estimates that prevention costs guided by a One Health approach – which would sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals and ecosystems – would range from $10.3 billion to $11.5 billion per year, per year. compared to the cost of managing pandemics which, according to the recent estimate of the G20 Joint Task Force on Finance and Health, is around $30.1 billion per year.
“Prevention is better than cure. COVID-19 has shown that a pandemic risk anywhere becomes a pandemic risk everywhere. The economic case for One Health is strong – the cost of prevention is extremely modest by relative to the cost of managing and responding to pandemics,” said Mari Pangestu, Managing Director for Development Policy and Partnerships at the World Bank.
Prevention costs are only about a third of the cost of preparedness and less than 1% of the cost of COVID-19 in 2020 – when the global economy contracted by 4.3% or around $3.6 trillion dollars worth of goods, services and other products lost, and the public health response. Ultimately, prevention is a global public good: no country can be excluded from it and there is no limit to the number of countries that can benefit from it. Unfortunately, there is a chronic underinvestment in prevention and countries must act. Moreover, when prevention is successful, the benefits are invisible and do not manifest as crises requiring immediate attention. One Health is the holistic approach needed to break this cycle of panic, neglect and underinvestment.
Successful implementation of One Health will require improved coordination, communication and collaboration across sectors, enhanced through capacity building. This means managing the trade-offs between development and holistic health goals, and sharing the costs more equitably through global coordination of policies and funding actions.
Investing in One Health is an investment in the future of humanity. The framework is holistic and helps governments, international organizations and donors direct financial resources to optimize scarce funding resources and prevent pandemics. One Health shares aimed at preventing epidemics are profitable, with an estimated annual rate of return of up to 86%. Now is the time to embrace One-Health, to leave behind the cycle of panic and neglect and to realize the idea that prevention is better than cure.
Contacts in Washington:
Meriem Gray [email protected]
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