The US seems behind in its efforts to contain the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic. Learnings from other countries, in particular Italy and Germany, indicate that infections have already spread widely in communities and can no longer be traced and controlled. These countries are ahead of the curve and there is no reason to believe that developments in the US will not follow this same path. Continue Reading
The Difficulty of Predicting the Coronavirus Trajectory
There is currently a debate about the trajectory of the new coronavirus disease, now named COVID-19. Different models are predicting different outcomes and numbers provided by Chinese authorities seem to indicate a steep increase in cases. Continue Reading
Interesting Read on the Challenges of a Centralized System when Combatting an Epidemic
While the numbers of infections and deaths from the novel coronavirus are accelerating and the peak of the crisis is projected to still be a few weeks away (1), the question of whether China’s centralized governmental system has been helping or hurting outbreak control remains. Continue Reading
WHO Declares Global Health Emergency
The continuous spread of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) led the World Health Organization to declare a global health emergency today. WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that the main reason for the declaration “is not what is happening in China but what is happening in other countries”. Ghebreyesus made sure to praise the measures and the ways in which Chinese authorities are controlling this outbreak. Continue Reading
The Dual Use Dilemma
An important issue in the public health area today is dual use research and technology, a topic that often remains unspoken about and unknown to the public. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “dual use research of concern (DURC) is life sciences research that is intended for benefit, but which might easily be misapplied to do harm”. Continue Reading
The Norwegian Approach to Public Health and Pandemic Preparedness
As with many other countries around the world, biodefense and public health planning, surveillance, and response are the responsibilities of numerous intertwined agencies within a country that all have different assignments and responsibilities, yet have to work together to successfully protect a nation from harm.
Last summer, I interviewed a Norwegian public health expert who chose to remain anonymous. She shared with me valuable information regarding the Norwegian Government’s approach to public health. As the Norwegian health system is universal and available to everyone, I was interested to find out how they organize pandemic preparedness and the agencies involved. Continue Reading
Pros and Cons of Public Health Systems: Germany, UK, and USA
During my meeting with Prof. Dr. Manfred Wildner and his colleague Dr. Herbert Zöllner in Munich, Germany, we discussed the comparative advantages and disadvantages of the German, UK, and US public health systems. The systems are strikingly different.
A German Perspective on Public Health Preparedness
Over the summer, I met with Prof. Dr. Manfred Wildner and his colleague, Dr. Herbert Zöllner, in Munich, Germany to learn about the structure of public health institutions and emergency preparedness in Germany.
Germany is a federal republic consisting of 16 states. Each individual state is responsible for public health, as well as other matters including policing and education. I wanted to understand how Germany, and in particular the individual states, organize themselves to prepare for public health emergencies. Continue Reading
Coming up: American Public Health Association Conference 2019
Register now for APHA 2019, the largest annual meeting of public health professionals. The conference will take place from November 2-6 in Philadelphia. Click the link below for more information:
Learnings on Biodefense Preparedness from Singapore
All around the world, the structure and security measures for biodefense preparedness vary. Countries have very distinct strategies based on their location, size, and type of government. I was particularly interested in Singapore, a very small country of only 5.8 million residents and 278 square miles, because of its reputation for efficiency and high standards. Therefore, I asked the Singaporean Government if they could share information on their approach to protecting their country from biological threats. Continue Reading