WHO launches new global influenza strategy
GENEVA, CMC – The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a Global Influenza Strategy aimed at protecting people in all countries from the threat of influenza.
WHO said that the goal of the 2019-2030 strategy is to prevent seasonal influenza, control the spread of influenza from animals to humans, and prepare for the next influenza pandemic.
“The question is not if we will have another pandemic, but when. We must be vigilant and prepared. The cost of a major influenza outbreak will far outweigh the price of prevention. The threat of pandemic influenza is ever-present.” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, adding “the on-going risk of a new influenza virus transmitting from animals to humans and potentially causing a pandemic is real”.
The WHO said influenza remains one of the world’s greatest public health challenges.
Every year across the globe there are an estimated one billion cases, of which three to five million are severe cases, resulting in 290 000 to 650 000 influenza-related respiratory deaths.
The WHO said it recommends annual influenza vaccination as the most effective way to prevent influenza.
It said that vaccination is especially important for people at higher risk of serious influenza complications and for health care workers.
The new strategy is the most comprehensive and far-reaching that WHO has ever developed for influenza.
It outlines a path to protect populations every year and helps prepare for a pandemic through strengthening routine programmes.
It has two overarching goals namely to build stronger country capacities for disease surveillance and response, prevention and control, and preparedness.
The WHO said to achieve this, it calls for every country to have a tailored influenza programme that contributes to national and global preparedness and health security.