- SARS, Ebola and COVID-19 have tested the world’s ability to deal with outbreaks and pandemics.
- A global pandemic preparedness system needs sustained political will and investment to ensure the global healthcare supply chain can effectively respond to a crisis.
- If we don’t get serious about pandemic preparedness now, millions more lives will be at stake.
It was 20 years ago, when the SARS outbreak exposed key fragilities in the global healthcare supply chain, that people internationally began to talk seriously about pandemic preparedness.
Eight years ago, when the Ebola outbreak proved the world no better prepared to address outbreaks, there was more talk and some action. This included the founding of the Pandemic Supply Chain Network (PSCN), by the World Health Organization, World Economic Forum, World Bank, World Food Programme, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Henry Schein and more than 60 companies. The PSCN was established to make it easier to anticipate and respond to global healthcare supply chain disruptions.
Yet today, nearly three years into the COVID-19 pandemic – the worst global health crisis in a century – many of the same supply-chain fragilities remain. Although partnerships, such as the PSCN, and national efforts somewhat blunted the severity of supply chain disruptions during the pandemic, the effort to develop a global pandemic preparedness system has yet to garner the sustained political will and investment needed to ensure that the global healthcare supply chain can effectively respond to a crisis.