Posts Tagged ‘preparedness’

For once, an international body has recognized that something has to be done to avoid another COVID-19 disaster. The European Commission is promoting the design and launching of a new agency: the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA). The HERA will be tasked with the risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication of future health emergencies.

Five pillars constitute the core of HERA:

  1. Supporting technological innovation.
  2. Fostering coordination among EU and non-EU countries as well as with related international organizations.
  3. Establishing monitoring, preparedness, and response mechanisms.
  4. Instituting a robust EU and WHO surveillance system.
  5. Building specific competence for health and non-health personnel.

All five pillars, together with the promotion of research and innovation for a preparedness agenda and enhancing partnerships with non-EU countries, should put the EU and, by extension, the rest of the world in a better situation than the one it was in a year ago.

We can bet that, if in a few years’ time, no new pandemic has developed, many people will start pointing out how the EU is a machine that wastes money on useless agencies whose only objective is to maintain the good life of many eurocrats. That will be good for two reasons. First, it will mean that we have been spared a new devastating pandemic; second it will probably mean that the mechanisms designed by HERA have worked and we have avoided a new pandemic.

Let’s hope that HERA will have to be faced only with the above kind of criticism, and that its design is as good as we all hope for. Another devastating pandemic like COVID-19 will surely cripple the fabric of the world more than the recent financial and health crises.

Note: this post has been inspired by the paper by Villa, S et al. HERA: a new era for health emergency preparedness in Europe? The Lancet. Published Online May 17, 2021 https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)01107-7

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