The Chief Scientist of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Jeremy Farrar, has issued a compelling call to global leaders, urging them to invest in strengthening both health and political systems to enhance scientific capabilities in combating future pandemics. In a video shared on the official Twitter handle of the WHO, Farrar emphasised the need for countries to allocate significant resources to manufacturing, healthcare, and surveillance in order to effectively respond to potential pandemics.
Farrar advised world leaders not to wait for a crisis to unfold before taking action but rather stressed the importance of proactively investing in preparedness. He particularly underscored the significance of developing trust between nations.
Farrar stated, “So many lessons from the pandemic. For me, I think the most important lesson is what you have before will largely determine how you can respond to it. And that means what scientific capacity do you have? What manufacturing capacity do you have? What surveillance capacity do you have? How strong is your health system? How much experience have you got with epidemics and pandemics? What’s your political system? None of those things can you build in a crisis.
Farrar continued, “Trust is built up over the years. Science is built up over the years. Political systems are built up over the years. So don’t wait until a crisis. Invest in all of those things. Most importantly, perhaps, trust.” Farrar also highlighted the global nature of health challenges, emphasising that no single country can effectively address these issues without international cooperation.
“If you look at the challenges in our time, in my view, they are all transnational. No country on its own is going to be able to solve the climate change crisis. No country on its own is going to be able to protect itself against pandemics, drug-resistant infections, the rise of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and inequality. So, unless we work out how we are going to work together, we are never going to be able to solve these 21st-century challenges,” Farrar added.