Germany and the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Wednesday that they would be opening a new hub for monitoring global health risks.
The center, which will be located in Berlin, will have a mission of collecting and analyzing health data from across the globe to develop innovative solutions and facilitate collaboration between the private and public sectors for preventing new outbreaks.
Called the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence, the new entity is part of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, which was established in 2016.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director general, said that better data analysis will contribute to preventing a repeat of the COVID 19 pandemic. He added that this was one of the lessons learned from efforts to prevent its spread.
“One of the lessons of COVID-19 is that the world needs a significant leap forward in data analysis to help leaders make informed public health decisions,” said Dr. Ghebreyesus.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she was delighted by the decision to station this new hub in her country and invited other parties to contribute to its operation.
“The current Covid-19 pandemic has taught us that we can only fight pandemics and epidemics together,” said Merkel in the joint Germany-WHO announcement. “The new WHO Hub will be a global platform for pandemic prevention, bringing together various governmental, academic and private sector institutions.
German Minister of Health Jens Spahn said that the next pandemic would be combatted in advance by efforts like the new monitoring center. He reiterated Germany’s commitment to ensuring the success of this work.
WHO looks to apply lessons learned
WHO has faced at times withering criticism after COVID 19 stormed its way around the globe.
Former United States President Donald Trump in particular accused WHO of bungling the pandemic response and withdrew the US from the international organization last year. President Joe Biden rejoined WHO on the same day his term began, on January 20, 2021.
WHO’s report on the origins of the virus in Wuhan, China was heavily scrutinized for finding that the Chinese government withheld information from the initial outbreak and subsequent investigation.
In March, Ghebreyesus joined more than 20 world leaders in calling for the creation of a new global pandemic treaty. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was among the world leaders who signed onto the letter.
“We believe that nations should work together towards a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response,” it said.
“We are convinced that it is our responsibility, as leaders of nations and international institutions, to ensure that the world learns the lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic.”