Berlin gets WHO early warning centre for pandemics

Berlin gets WHO early warning centre for pandemics

A kind of pandemic early warning centre of the World Health Organisation (WHO) is being set up in Berlin. The centre is to be up and running in autumn, as Health Minister Jens Spahn announced on 05 May 2021 together with WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

  • Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus© dpa
    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), informs at a press conference about the current state of the situation regarding the coronavirus. (Archive)
  • Jens Spahn© dpa
    Jens Spahn (CDU), Federal Minister of Health, speaks at a press conference.
It aims to strengthen cooperation among countries and scientific institutes around the world and help detect early indications of potential pandemic outbreaks. "One lesson from the Covid 19 pandemic is that the world needs to make a significant leap in data analysis so that policymakers can make public health decisions based on it," Tedros said. The start-up funding of 30 million euros comes from the German government.

WHO Hub in Berlin will share findings with all countries

«Eine wesentliche Grundlage des Kampfes gegen künftige Pandemien sind Daten», sagte Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel in einer Videobotschaft. «Daten, die, wenn man sie bündelt und mit den richtigen Analysewerkzeugen verarbeitet, Erkenntnisse hervorbringen, die wir alleine, jeder für sich, niemals oder zumindest niemals so schnell entdecken könnten. Diese technischen Möglichkeiten wird der WHO Hub in Berlin nutzen und die Erkenntnisse mit allen Staaten teilen.»

Artificial intelligence an important factor in the pandemic early warning centre

The hub is not intended to become a new agency, as WHO Emergency Relief Coordinator Mike Ryan emphasised. Rather, the WHO, with the support of Germany, wants to provide a platform and tools that will enable scientists from all over the world to evaluate data. It is to design models that can be used to better assess risks. Partners are to include not only governments but also research institutes and other organisations. Artificial intelligence will play a major role, says Ryan.

Spahn: "The world is not sufficiently prepared"

However, the whole thing stands and falls with the willingness of the WHO countries to cooperate and be transparent, said Spahn. He appealed to governments to learn lessons from the Corona pandemic. All countries must work on pandemic preparedness, he said. "The world is not sufficiently prepared," he said. "In the highly interconnected world, pandemic risks must be detected as early as possible."

Source: dpa

| Last edited: Wednesday, 5. May 2021 15:30 Uhr

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