Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has launched the PRET initiative to be better prepared for future outbreaks of a similar scale and devastation as the COVID-19 pandemic.
About PRET Initiative:
- What it is? The Preparedness and Resilience for Emerging Threats (PRET) Initiative is aimed at providing “guidance on integrated planning for responding to any respiratory pathogen such as influenza or coronaviruses”.
- It was announced at the Global Meeting for Future Respiratory Pathogen Pandemics held on 24-26 April 2023 in Geneva, Switzerland.
- The first module focuses on respiratory pathogens, including influenza, coronaviruses, and respiratory syncytial virus.
- It involves three-pronged approach which includes
- Update preparedness plans that affirm priority actions and that have considered learnings from past events.
- Increase connectivity among stakeholders in pandemic preparedness planning through systematic coordination and cooperation. This includes building equitable systems; conducting joint exercises; and sharing information on good practices, challenges, and opportunities.
- Dedicate sustained investments, financing and monitoring of pandemic preparedness with a particular focus on addressing the gaps identified during past pandemics and epidemics.
Key facts about WHO?
- It was established on April 7, 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
- It is governed by the World Health Assembly, which is composed of representatives from all member states.
- The Assembly meets annually to set policies, approve budgets, and elect the Director-General.
- The Director-General is the chief executive officer of the WHO and is responsible for overseeing its operations.
- Its work focuses on promoting health and preventing disease, preparing for and responding to health emergencies, and improving access to health services and medicines.
- It works closely with a range of partners, including other UN agencies, governments, NGOs, and the private sector, to achieve its objectives.
- It is primarily funded by contributions from its member states. It also receives funding from philanthropic organizations and other sources.
Q1) What is Influenza?
It is commonly known as the flu, is a viral respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. The virus spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.