June 22, 2017

Young Examines World Health Organization’s Readiness for Global Pandemics

Washington DC – Today, Senator Todd Young (R-IN) convened a panel of experts to examine the World Health Organization’s (WHO) preparedness for the next global pandemic. He was joined by two experts on the issue: Dr. David Nabarro, a Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General; and Dr. Rebecca Katz, an Associate Professor and Co-Director at Georgetown’s Center for Global Health Science and Security.

The international community confronts a growing and serious pandemic threat. Dr. Katz cited in her prepared testimony that pandemic modelers predict there is a high probability of a large-scale influenza pandemic in the next 10-30 years that could result in tens of millions of deaths.

Sen. Young noted in his comments:

“Some Americans may be tempted to focus exclusively on U.S. preparedness for the next pandemic, but that would be a mistake. As the Ebola crisis reminded us, pandemics do not respect national borders and the best way for governments to protect their own people is to work with the international community and assertively help other governments deal withoutbreaks as early aspossible.”

He went on to point out that the World Health Organization has fallen short on its preparedness in the past, but that is not a reason to abandon it:

“The prudent response to this checkered history is not to walk away from the WHO. That would be unwise and even dangerous.The WHO’s mission is too important.

“Instead, we should seek consensus regarding the WHO’s shortcomings, hold the organization accountable, and work with persistence and a sense of urgency to correct its shortcomings and demand a more effective fulfillment of its important mission.”

Watch a video of the meeting here.

Read the experts’ submitted written testimonies here.