•A process is underway to identify the next group of pathogens, such as arboviruses, to be addressed under this initiative, WHO said.
•In September, the WHO announced Kenya would also benefit from a new fund that seeks to enhance preparedness and response to any future pandemics.
Kenya will benefit from a new initiative that will help countries prepare better for future pandemics.
World Health Organization launched the initiative earlier this week.
Through it, countries will receive support to plan response to any respiratory pathogen such as influenza or coronaviruses.
The initiative is called Preparedness and Resilience for Emerging Threats Initiative (PRet) and incorporates tools and approaches mostly established during the Covid-19 pandemic.
WHO said in a statement that it will use a mode of transmission approach to guide countries in pandemic planning, given that many capacities and capabilities are common among groups of pathogens.
“Preparedness, prevention, and response activities must not be the province of the health sector alone,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director general.
“Just as health emergencies have impacts across many sectors, so must our preparedness and response efforts span sectors, disciplines and pathogens. It is critical, too, that community engagement and equity are the centre of our efforts, especially for those populations that are marginalized and most at risk.”
PRET is an evolution in WHO’s approach to pandemic preparedness through the application of a mode of transmission lens, rather than a focus on specific diseases.
The organisation said the Initiative’s first module focuses on respiratory pathogens, including influenza, coronaviruses, and respiratory syncytial virus.
“Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the possible threat of avian influenza, this module will enable countries to critically review, test, and update their respiratory pandemic planning efforts to ensure they have the functional capacities and capabilities in place,” it said in a statement.
A process is underway to identify the next group of pathogens, such as arboviruses, to be addressed under this initiative, WHO said.
WHO said that it is working with member states and partners to identify and implement priority actions to strengthen national, regional, and global preparedness for pandemics and emerging infectious disease threats.
“We recognize the role of communities and all sectors, and the need for harmonized and sustained momentum to end the cycle of panic and neglect that is all too common in pandemic preparedness and response,” it said.
In September, the WHO announced Kenya would also benefit from a new fund that seeks to enhance preparedness and response to any future pandemics.
The new Financial Intermediary Fund will be hosted by the World Bank with technical leadership from the WHO.
The fund is designed to provide a dedicated stream of additional, long-term financing to strengthen pandemic preparedness and response capabilities in low- and middle-income countries including Kenya.
The fund will also serve as a platform for advocacy and help focus and sustain much-needed, high-level attention on strengthening health systems.
The first call for proposals for investments to be funded by the FIF will open in November 2022, with more than 15 countries having made their financial commitments.
They include Australia, Canada, China, the European Commission, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, the UK, the US, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.