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International Day of Epidemic Preparedness- 27 December

by Public Health Update

Background

27 December 2020, today is the first ever International Day of Epidemic Preparedness! 27 December 2020. The first ever International Day of Epidemic Preparedness, being held on 27 December 2020, was called for by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate the importance of the prevention of, preparedness for and partnership against epidemics.

The UN General Assembly proclaimed the day 27 December as the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness.

The UN General Assembly invites all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other global, regional and subregional organizations, the private sector and civil society, including non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, individuals and other relevant stakeholders to observe the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness annually in an appropriate manner and in accordance with national contexts and priorities, through education and awareness-raising activities, in order to highlight the importance of the prevention of, preparedness for and partnership against epidemics.

The United Nations system, in particular the World Health Organization, plays a pivotal role in coordinating responses to epidemics, in accordance with its mandate, and in supporting national, regional and international efforts to prevent, mitigate and address the impacts of infectious diseases and epidemics in accordance with the goal of advancing the 2030 Agenda.

Aim

The International Day of Epidemic Preparedness aims to highlight the importance of the prevention of, preparedness for and partnerships against epidemics.

Importance

In the event of the absence of international attention, future epidemics could surpass previous outbreaks in terms of intensity and gravity. There is great need of raising awareness, the exchange of information, scientific knowledge and best practices, quality education, and advocacy programmes on epidemics at the local, national, regional and global levels as effective measures to prevent and respond to epidemics.

It is important to strengthen epidemic prevention by applying lessons learned on epidemic management and how to prevent the stoppage of basic services, and to raise the level of preparedness in order to have the earliest and most adequate response to any epidemic that may arise, and recognizing also the value of an integrated One Health approach that fosters integration of human health, animal health and plant health, as well as environmental and other relevant sectors.

International cooperation and multilateralism play an important role in the response to epidemics. We need to stress the significance of partnership and solidarity among every individual, community and State, and regional and international organizations, in all stages of epidemic management, as well as the importance of considering a gender perspective in this regard.

We need to recognize the primary role and responsibility of Governments and the indispensable contribution of relevant stakeholders in tackling global health challenges, especially women, who make up the majority of the world’s health workers.

UN member states commit to ensure inclusive, equal and non-discriminatory participation, with special attention to those, who are vulnerable or in vulnerable situations with the highest chance of epidemic infection.

Key message
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of investing in systems to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease outbreaks. 
  • There is an urgent need to have resilient and robust health systems, reaching those who are vulnerable or in vulnerable situations.

Further reading & source of information: UN & WHO


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