Ebola exposed gaping holes in the world’s ability to respond to epidemics, and the next time—in the event of an airborne contagion, for example—could be even more disastrous, writes Bill Gates in a New England Journal of Medicine editorial.
Borrowing military language and approach, Gates urges the global health community to prepare for battle now. In an editorial mapping out a global plan he points to NATO’s mobile unit that is ready to deploy quickly and war game exercises.
“Although the system is not perfect, NATO countries participate in joint exercises in which they work out logistics such as how fuel and food will be provided, what language they will speak, and what radio frequencies will be used. Few, if any, such measures are in place for response to an epidemic,” he writes.
Gates’s war plans detail the need to reinforce basic public health systems, lay the groundwork for better recruitment and training of staff, and improve funding mechanisms to develop treatments and vaccines for use against various pathogens.
New England Journal of Medicine