As world leaders grapple with containing the Zika virus, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa provides valuable lessons for how to respond to infectious disease epidemics, according to a policy report published by researchers at Princeton University and the Wellcome Trust.
Rebuilding local health care infrastructures, improving capacity to respond more quickly to outbreaks as well as considering multiple perspectives across disciplines during decision-making processes are among the key recommendations the authors propose.
The report, which was published in Science, states the World Health Organization (WHO) must again become the respected global health body with a clear mandate to provide global health leadership. This can only be made possible with binding commitments from the international community alongside an ability and willingness of WHO to lead, the researchers conclude.
Based on an international conference held in Dublin, Ireland -- "Modern Plagues: Lessons Learned from the Ebola Crisis" -- the report was written by Janet Currie and Bryan Grenfell, both based at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust. Farrar was a keynote speaker at the event, and Currie and Grenfell served as panelists.
"We hope that the Ebola crisis will provide the impetus to change the ways in which we prepare for and respond to epidemics, especially as new threats like Zika virus continue to emerge," the researchers wrote.
The researchers' recommendations are as follows:
Materials provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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