Make reforms to prepare for next pandemic - WHO chief

STORY: Speaking at the WHO's annual health assembly weeks after ending the global emergency status for the COVID-19 pandemic, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was time to advance negotiations on preventing the next one.

He said: “We cannot kick this can down the road. If we do not make the changes that must be made, then who will? And if we do not make them now, then when? When the next pandemic comes knocking, and it will, we must be ready to answer decisively, collectively and equitably.

“And for enhanced international cooperation, the pandemic accord, a generational commitment that we will not go back to the old cycle of panic and neglect that left our world vulnerable, but move forward with a shared commitment to meet shared threats with a shared response. That’s why we say the pandemic is a generational agreement: a commitment from this generation is important because it's this generation that experienced how awful a small virus could be.”

The 10-day annual World Health Assembly in Geneva, which coincides with the body's 75th anniversary, is set to address global health challenges including future pandemics.