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IDEP will serve as response to epidemics

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By Mercy Kelani

The COVID-19 pandemic will be contained through observance of IDEP.

On December 7, 2020, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed December 27 as the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness in its resolution (A/RES/75/27). The designation of this day was propelled by the inability to contain coronavirus COVID-19 epidemic. The World Health Organization (WHO), governments and leaders across the globe have become aware that there is an urgent need to build resilient and robust health care systems to reach out to vulnerable people who are in vulnerable situations.

It has also come to the notice of WHO and member states of the United Nations that there is a pressing need for creation of awareness as well as the need for scientific knowledge and best practices, advocacy programs on epidemics, exchange of information, and quality education at local, national, regional and global levels; these will serve as effective measures for prevention of and response to epidemics. It will also help to prepare for and partner against epidemics.

Surviving COVID-19 crises requires solidarity and compassion.

The International Day of Epidemic Preparedness is a UN-assigned day that encourages individuals, institutions and governments to practice epidemic preparedness in an appropriate manner and according to national contexts and priorities, with the aid of education and activities that create awareness. Observance of this international day brings extra attention to the efforts of many countries and regions to curb the COVID-19 epidemic and subsequently aid the improvement of their response capabilities for better equipment against future challenges.

According to the United Nations, the COVID-19 pandemic is beyond a health crisis. It is considered an economic crisis, a security crisis, a humanitarian crisis and a human rights crisis. These crises have exposed critical vulnerabilities and inequalities within nations and among different  nations. To successfully sail through this crisis requires a whole-of-society, whole-of-government and whole-of-the-world approach propelled by solidarity and compassion. To achieve this goal and to save lives, protect societies and recover better, the UN Secretary-General launched the UN Comprehensive Response to COVID-19.

Intl. cooperation & multilateralism are pivotal in response to epidemics.

According to the United Nations, it is essential to strengthen epidemic prevention by the application of lessons learned on epidemic management, preventing the stoppage of basic services, raising the level of preparedness – so as to have an early and adequate response to future epidemics that may arise – and recognition of the value of an integrated One Health approach that brings about integration of human health, environmental sectors, plant health and animal health and other relevant sectors.

In addition, it was affirmed that international cooperation and multilateralism are important in the response to epidemics. There is also a need to emphasize the significance of partnership and solidarity among individuals, community and state, as well as regional and international organizations in every stage of epidemic management and the need to consider a gender perspective in respect to this. Individuals are also urged to recognize the role of governments and the integral contribution of relevant stakeholders in fighting global health challenges.

Org. plays a critical role in the coordination of responses to epidemics.

The World Health Organization, as a system of the United Nations, plays a critical role in the coordination of responses to epidemics, according to its mandates and supporting national, regional and international efforts for prevention, mitigation and address of the impacts of epidemics and infectious diseases in conformity with the goal of improving the 2030 Agenda. Likewise, UN member states are committed to ensuring inclusive, equal and non-discriminatory participation, paying particular attention to those who are vulnerable and with high chance of epidemic infection.

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