World is 'dangerously' unprepared for next pandemic, WHO head suggests

The head of the World Health Organization said the world may be "dangerously" unprepared for a disease pandemic at an executive board meeting Feb. 3, reports CNBC.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, urged the group's member countries to invest more in preparedness, not panic.

"For too long, the world has operated on a cycle of panic and neglect," Dr. Tedros said, according to a meeting transcript obtained by CNBC. "We throw money at an outbreak, and when it's over, we forget about it and do nothing to prevent the next one."

For example, the world has spent more than $1 billion responding to the Democratic Republic of Congo's Ebola outbreak, which started in 2018. However, Congo's neighbor Uganda spent just $18 million in outbreak preparedness before the virus crossed its border, according to Dr. Tedros.

His remarks come amid international attention on China's growing coronavirus outbreak, which has sickened more than 17,000 people since mid-January. 

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