World celebrates 1st International Day of Epidemic Preparedness

The first ever International Day of Epidemic Preparedness is being observed on Sunday. The United Nations General Assembly called on all its member states and other global organisations to mark December 27 every year as the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness in order to advocate the importance of global partnership against epidemics.

The UNGA called on nations to observe the day “in accordance with national contexts and priorities” through education and awareness-raising activities.

After the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) disease devastated health systems and destroyed long-term social and economic development across the world, a need for a system that helped build resilient health systems, and enabled organisations to reach those who are vulnerable, was felt. “There is great need for 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,” the United Nations website said.

A lack of international attention on this need would result in future pandemics surpassing previous outbreaks in terms of intensity and gravity, it added.

The World Health Organization (WHO), according to the UN, played an important role in supporting international efforts to curb the spread of pandemics and epidemics. Theworld body also recognised the pivotal role of governments and other major stakeholders such as healthcare workers in managing outbreaks.

TheInternational Day of Epidemic Preparedness aims to promote international awareness and action on the prevention of, preparedness for and partnership against epidemics, the UN said.

“Each international day offers many actors the opportunity to organize activities related to the theme of the day. Organizations and offices of the United Nations system, and most importantly, governments, civil society, the public and private sectors, schools, universities and, more generally, citizens, make an international day a springboard for awareness-raising actions,” the organisation added.

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