*** ----> WHO urges pandemic accord in 2024 after years of Covid pain | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

WHO urges pandemic accord in 2024 after years of Covid pain

AFP | Geneva

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

The head of the WHO said yesterday the world needs to properly prepare for future pandemics after finally ending three years of Covid “crisis, pain and loss,”.

In his end-of-year message, World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said 2023 had marked a turning point in fighting major health challenges but had also brought “immense and avoidable suffering.”

Tedros called for rampedup relief efforts for the Gaza Strip and urged nations to seal a “monumental” pandemic accord to plug preparedness gaps that were exposed during the pandemic. Tedros declared an end to Covid-19 as an international public health emergency in May.

“This marked a turning point for the world following three years of crisis, pain and loss for people everywhere,” he recalled in a video message. “I’m glad to see that life has returned to normal.” After 10 months, the WHO also lifted a similar emergency on mpox in May 2023, while the UN health agency approved new vaccines for malaria, dengue and meningitis, Tedros said.

Meanwhile Azerbaijan, Belize and Tajikistan were declared malaria-free. Tedros also noted that the health impacts of climate change featured prominently at COP28, the latest annual UN climate conference held a few weeks ago. However, “2023 has also been a year of immense and avoidable suffering and threats to health,” he added.

Tedros spoke of the “barbaric” Hamas attacks on Israel, “followed by the unleashing of a devastating attack on Gaza.” The bloodiest ever Gaza war erupted when Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7 and killed about 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures. They took 250 hostages of whom 129 remain inside Gaza.