Founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates has warned governments all over the world to prepare for the next pandemic as it would a war.
The billionaire philanthropist said he believes the next pandemic could be deadlier than covid-19, and urged governments to invest massively in healthcare.
In his 2021 Annual Letter (The Year Global Health Went Local) released on Wednesday, the Microsoft co-founder said “We can’t afford to be caught flat-footed again.
“The threat of the next pandemic will always be hanging over our heads — unless the world takes steps to prevent it.”
“To avoid future destruction on the scale of that caused by COVID-19, pandemic preparedness must be taken as seriously as we take the threat of war.”
“The unfortunate reality is that COVID-19 might not be the last pandemic. We don’t know when the next one will strike, or whether it will be a flu, a coronavirus, or some new disease we’ve never seen before. But what we do know is that we can’t afford to be caught flat-footed again. The threat of the next pandemic will always be hanging over our heads—unless the world takes steps to prevent it.
“To prevent the hardship of this last year from happening again, pandemic preparedness must be taken as seriously as we take the threat of war. The world needs to double down on investments in R&D and organizations like CEPI that have proven invaluable with COVID-19. We also need to build brand-new capabilities that don’t exist yet.
“Stopping the next pandemic will require spending tens of billions of dollars per year—a big investment, but remember that the COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to cost the world $28 trillion. The world needs to spend billions to save trillions (and prevent millions of deaths). I think of this as the best and most cost-efficient insurance policy the world could buy,” his article captured.
Regarding the covid-19 pandemic, Gates had predicted that it would greatly ravage Africa.
He had cited poor economy and lack of strong health infrastructure as reasons for high covid-19 deaths in the continent.
Yet, while the continent is still recording daily cases and deaths, the cumulative data from Africa is 3,453,148 cases and 85,850 deaths; out of 100,880,623 cases ( according to latest Worldometer data).
However, health authorities like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Covid-19 Presidential Taskforce in Nigeria, had advised people to strictly comply with the health protocols as a measure geared towards curbing the pandemic.
“So far, developing countries like India and Nigeria account for a small portion of the reported global infections,” he had said.
Writing further on his prediction, Gates commended scientists who had developed covid-19 vaccines.
“The good news is that we can get ahead of infectious disease outbreaks. Although the world failed to prepare for COVID-19 in many ways, we’re still benefiting from actions taken in response to past outbreaks. For example, the Ebola epidemic made it clear that we needed to accelerate the development of new vaccines.