WHO's Azerbaijan Office: Next pandemic will definitely occur

Health 13:55 24.05.2024

"When will the next pandemic occur?" - you may ask.

The answer is: It definitely will. It could be COVID, it could be influenza, it could be another disease...,” said Hande Harmancı, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative and Head of Country Office in Azerbaijan, as an answer to the “in December 2021, WHO Member States met in Geneva, during which they agreed to develop an international agreement on pandemic preparedness and response. The deadline is May 2024, and the WHO director said there are still issues where countries have yet to reach a consensus. I would like to ask which countries cannot agree on these issues?” question during her interview with APA.

“We as the World Health Organization are watching the process as observers. But we do not interfere. Since 2021, these states have been working towards a new pandemic agreement. We hope that this topic will be concluded with an agreement at the 77th World Health Assembly in May. Of course, it is impossible to say something specific. We will be able to see this during the Assembly. Here we must highlight several very important objectives. The first is the issue of being able to prepare better for the next pandemic. "When will the next pandemic occur?" - you may ask. The answeris: It definitely will. It could be COVID, it could be influenza, it could be another disease... If we look at history, a pandemic definitely occurs in every 10 or 40 years. Some of these are more severe – like COVID. Some are milder, such as influenza. Perhaps, many do not remember, there was an influenza pandemic in 2009: H1-N1. It was also a pandemic. But it was not so severe. In other words, it is a very important issue for healthcare professionals to be prepared for the possibility of the next pandemic.

Another topic that will be discussed and will be reflected in the final agreement is related to the fair distribution of vaccines.

The third topic is related to communication and exchange of information between countries. We will also participate in this assembly. Azerbaijani Health Minister Teymur Musayev will also be there. We will be in Geneva in the last week of May,” – she concluded.

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