To prevent seasonal influenza activity and protect individuals from the next influenza pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has released a Global Influenza Strategy for 2019 to 2030.
While progress has been made in preparing the world for the next influenza outbreak, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says that the world is still not prepared enough.
“Fundamentally, [the Global Influenza Strategy] is about preparing health systems to manage shocks, and this only happens when health systems are strong and healthy themselves,” said Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The strategy, which provides a yearly outline on how to protect populations and strengthen routine programs to prepare for a pandemic, is the most comprehensive to-date that WHO has developed for influenza, according to the organization.
There are 2 main goals of the Global Influenza Strategy. The first is to build stronger country capacities for disease surveillance and response, prevention and control, and preparedness. To do this, every country must have a tailored influenza program that contributes to national and global preparedness and health security, according to WHO.
The second goal is to develop better tools, such as more effective vaccines, antivirals, and treatments, in order to prevent, detect, control, and treat influenza; these tools should be accessible around the world.
To ensure the strategy is successfully implemented and its goals reached, WHO will be increasing research, innovation, and availability of global influenza tools as well as working with countries to improve their ability to prevent and control influenza.
“The threat of pandemic influenza is ever-present,” said Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “The ongoing risk of a new influenza virus transmitting from animals to humans and potentially causing a pandemic is real. The question is not if we will have another pandemic, but when. We must be vigilant and prepared—the cost of a major influenza outbreak will far outweigh the price of prevention.”
WHO launches new global influenza strategy [press release]. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; March 11, 2019. https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/11-03-2019-who-launches-new-global-influenza-strategy. Accessed March 11, 2019.