#HealthSystems, Prevention, and Preparing for Epidemics - Part 1

#HealthSystems, Prevention, and Preparing for Epidemics - Part 1

{Photos: Warren Zelman (left); Associated Press/Aurelie Marrier d’Unienvil (right)}Photos: Warren Zelman (left); Associated Press/Aurelie Marrier d’Unienvil (right)

This is the first in a new series on improving the health of the poorest and most vulnerable women, girls, families, and communities by prioritizing prevention and preparing health systems for epidemics. Join the conversation online with hashtag .

Prioritizing prevention of regional epidemics and global pandemics

{Photo: Warren Zelman}Photo: Warren Zelman

Last month, MSH President & CEO, Jonathan D. Quick, MD, MPH, urged G7 leaders (Huffington Post Impact) meeting in Ise-Shima, Japan, to prioritize pandemic prevention:

Look what has happened in less than one year since the G7 last met (June 2015), just after the Ebola crisis peaked at over 26,300 cases, 10,900 deaths. Zika hit the Americas and beyond, causing agony for pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, thousands of newborns with Zika-related abnormalities, and their families. Yellow Fever reclaimed ground in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, already infecting well over 2,000 people. ...

MERS, cholera, influenza, dengue, chikungunya, and malaria persist -- mostly in places where health systems are least equipped to contain infectious diseases. ...

Investing in pandemic response is vital to safeguard people in every nation. At the same time, preventing future infectious disease outbreaks -- which will happen -- from exploding into regional epidemics and global pandemics requires much greater investment in prevention. ...

Are we ready and willing to prevent epidemics, forever?

Women's health and rights

{Photo: Associated Press}Photo: Associated Press

The week before, Dr. Quick spoke at the 4th annual Women Deliver conference and blogged in Ms. Magazine on the preventable anguish of epidemics on women’s health and rights and how women lead.

Watch Dr. Quick's talk:

Epidemics don’t just leave behind a death toll. They can demolish the gains women have made in maternal, newborn, child, adolescent, and reproductive health -- gains that have been propelled by women’s rights and empowerment. ... When epidemics rage, women suffer -- and lead. ...

We have the power to prevent tomorrow’s epidemics. ... Here are three things you can do now:

First, find out how your community and your country are preparing for the next disease outbreak.

Second, make the fact that we can end epidemics a part of your personal conversations and political agenda.

Third, stay informed through the No More Epidemics Campaign and urge others to do the same. This campaign provides a must-read blueprint to ensure people around the world have strong health systems and are protected from epidemics. ...

What YOU can do now to prevent epidemics

Jonathan D. Quick, MD, MPH (), is President & CEO of Management Sciences for Health, a Harvard Medical School faculty member, and author of The End of Epidemics: The looming threat to humanity and how to stop it (St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan, U.S. and Scribe, UK and Australia, 2017). 

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