The Cost of Inaction – The Importance of Pandemic Prevention at the Source

The Alliance Secretariat hosted the side event “The Cost of Inaction – The Importance of Pandemic Prevention at the Source”, on Saturday 16th October at the World Health Summit 2022 in Berlin. The panelists represented various spheres within a One Health approach, emphasizing on a holistic perspective to bolster pandemic prevention at the source to reduce costs and provide co-benefits to climate and biodiversity.  

You may click on the following link to watch the recorded session on YouTube: 

WS 06 – The Cost of Inaction – The Importance of Pandemic Prevention at the Source – YouTube 

Prof. Andy Dobson, Dr. Catherine Machalaba and Dr. Eckart v. Hirschhausen at the World Health Summit.
About the panelists: 

Prof. Dr. Andrew Dobson 

Princeton University | Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology | Professor | United States of America 

Jochen Flasbarth 

Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) | State Secretary | Germany 

Dr. Catherine Machalaba 

EcoHealth Alliance | Senior Policy Advisor and Senior Scientist | United States of America 

Dr. María Neira 

World Health Organization (WHO) | Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health | Director 

Dr. Eckart von Hirschhausen 

Physician, Science Journalist, Founder of Healthy Planet – Healthy People Foundation and World Health Summit Ambassador | Germany 

Dr. María Neira and Jochen Flasbarth at World Health Summit 2022, Berlin, Germany & Digital, October 16-18, 2022. Photo: World Health Summit
About the event: 

Scientists calculate the cost of preventing further pandemics – via forest protection and improved wildlife trade regulation – over the next decade would amount to just 2% of the estimated financial damage caused by COVID-19. Such prevention strategies would also come with considerable co-benefits for climate and biodiversity. Research shows the proportion of pathogens crossing from one stage to the next, from pre-emergence to pandemic stage decreases as the costs for stopping those increases. In this inverse correlation: the earlier we prevent, the more cost-efficient it is. 

Yet attention is currently focused on later-stage prevention, preparedness and response. According to WHO’s Cristina Romanelli, only 3% of current efforts to stop future pandemics goes to primary prevention (pre-spillover), while the remaining 97% is invested in secondary prevention and preparedness measures. 

In the wake of immediate reactions to COVID-19 – most of which were taken under immense pressure to respond to and manage an ongoing crisis – many key actors, are now contemplating how to avoid and handle possible future pandemics more intelligently, efficiently and effectively. Considering this challenge, we ask: How can lessons learned from COVID-19 and primary prevention take a more prominent role in global responses to reduce the risk of future pandemics? What would such a policy path look like? And how might it incorporate regulations in line with WHO’s Manifesto (“Prescriptions for a healthy and green recovery from COVID-19”) that recognize the incredible opportunity for investments contributing to solving the triple, intersecting crises of health, climate and biodiversity? 

Recording: Expert Talk with Richard Kock and Hernán Cáceres-Escobar

January 18th at 16:30 – 17:45 CET

About this Event

Identifying and reducing human health risks from wildlife trade needs an internationally coordinated and cooperative approach. To this end, the International Alliance against Health Risks in Wildlife Trade serves as an inclusive and interdisciplinary platform to discuss challenges and formulate solutions vis-á-vis human-wildlife interfaces and associated health risks and the emergence and spread of zoonotic pathogens from wildlife.

During this online session Richard Kock and Hernán Cáceres-Escobar shared their insights from investigating the links between wildlife and the emergence of human infectious zoonoses and EIDs. They are both lead authors of the upcoming “Situation analysis on the roles and risks of wildlife in the emergence of human infectious diseases” by the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC). As member of the Alliance, you may access their “Highlights” in the Alliance’s Library.

About the Speakers

Richard Kock is a wildlife veterinary ecologist, infectious disease researcher and conservationist and was co-chair of the IUCN SSC Wildlife Health Specialist Group (2004-2021). He has worked almost entirely in the field of wildlife health and disease since 1980 with a focus on African and Asian ecosystems. He is on the WHO IHR and OIE Crisis Management Committee expert list, an Associate Research Fellow at Chatham House and past Council Member of the Wildlife Disease Association where he remains active on various task forces and committees, and is an adjunct Professor at Tufts University and Njala University. He holds a chair in Wildlife Health and Emerging Diseases, leading a research portfolio currently of £1.5 million pounds in the fields of wildlife health and zoonosis at the Pathobiology and Population Sciences Department at the Royal Veterinary College.

Hernán Cáceres-Escobar is a veterinarian and conservation scientist. He studies the links between anthropogenic-driven environmental change, biodiversity loss, and emerging infectious diseases. He uses transdisciplinary participatory approaches and modelling techniques to develop innovative evidence-based interventions and policies for an ever-changing world. He has a diverse international background and practical experience working with multi-cultural teams at the interface of science, policy, and practice with local and indigenous communities, government agencies, NGOs, IGOs, industry partners, and academics. In his current position at Sapienza University, he is combining his skills to explore how anthropogenic-driven environmental change affects disease hazards to create future scenarios of risk.

Session Recording

If you missed the presentation, you can find the recorded session here:

Recording: Expert Talk with Craig Stephen

December 6th at 16:30 – 17:45 CET

About this Event

Identifying and reducing human health risks from wildlife trade needs an internationally coordinated and cooperative approach. To this end, the International Alliance against Health Risks in Wildlife Trade serves as an inclusive and interdisciplinary platform to discuss challenges and formulate solutions vis-á-vis human-wildlife interfaces and associated health risks and the emergence and spread of zoonotic pathogens from wildlife.

At this event Dr. Craig Stephen will share his insights from reviewing the evidence how to manage the risk of disease emergence in the wildlife trade. You may download the full review by the World Health Organization (OIE) from the Alliance’s Library. He will speak about how confronting the threat of emerging infectious diseases will require adaptive management that is multifaceted and searches for systemic solutions. One challenge clearly lies in reducing the threat of emerging diseases while concurrently improving health, equity, and well-being for all species.

Speaker

Craig Stephen DVM Phd is a veterinary epidemiologist who has worked in the realms of One Health and EcoHealth for the past 25 years. He is the former Executive Director of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative and currently holds two clinical professorships at the School of Population and Public Health (University of British Columbia) and the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. Most recently, he has become the president of the McEachran Institute, a new think tank dedicated to making animal health professions “future-ready.” He has authored over 200 peer-reviewed and technical papers and has edited or co-edited 5 books related to One Health including; ‘Animals Health and Society; Health Promotion, Harm Reduction and Health Equity in a One Health World’ (CRC Press) , as well as upcoming books on ‘Wildlife Population Health’ (Springer Nature) and ‘Climate Change and Animal Health’ (CRC Press). Craig’s current academic focus is adapting concepts of harm reduction and health promotion for public health to wildlife and environmental health, developing and training One Health and Climate Change leaders, and developing One Health in practice. More information can be found at craigstephenconsulting.com 

Session Recording

If you missed Craig Stephen’s presentation, you can find the recorded session here: