World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim
The world is "dangerously unprepared" for future deadly pandemics like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the president of the World Bank has warned. Jim Yong Kim, speaking in Washington, said it was vital that governments, corporations, aid agencies and insurance companies worked together to prepare for future outbreaks.
He said they needed to learn lessons from the Ebola crisis. More than 8,500 people have died, most in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. "The Ebola outbreak has been devastating in terms of lives lost and the loss of economic growth," Mr Kim told an audience at Georgetown University.
"We need to make sure that we get to zero cases in this Ebola outbreak. At the same time, we need to prepare for future pandemics that could become far more deadly and infectious than what we have seen so far with Ebola. We must learn the lessons from the Ebola outbreak because there is no doubt we will be faced with other pandemics in the years to come."
Mr Kim said the World Bank Group had been working with the World Health Organisation (WHO), other UN agencies, academics, insurance company officials and others to work on a concept of developing a financial "pandemic facility". He said he expected a proposal for this to be presented to leaders of developed and developing countries in the coming months.
Mr Kim said the proposal would probably involve a combination of bonds and insurance plans but that, in some ways, the facility could be similar to a homeowner's insurance policy. "This could work like insurance policies that people understand, like fire insurance," he said. "The more that you are prepared for a fire, such as having several smoke detectors in your house, the lower the premium you pay.
Interestingly enough, Liberia has just reported
there are currently only five confirmed cases of Ebola in the entire country - a dramatic turnaround if this is in fact true. Sierra Leone and Guinea have also seen a dramatic reduction but are still reporting new infections. Statistics from WHO state more than 21,000 people have been sickened by Ebola and 8,600 deaths occurred. Is the disease actually fading or should we assume nothing is ever as stated?
Leading Pandemic Expert: President of the World Bank??? WHO knew!