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Pandemics

Preparing for disasters saves lives and money

Jim Yong Kim's picture
Tropical Cyclone Pam, a Category 5 storm, ripped through the island nation of Vanuatu on March 13 and 14. © UNICEF
Tropical Cyclone Pam hit the island nation of Vanuatu on March 13-14. © UNICEF


SENDAI, Japan Without better preparation for disasters – whether they be earthquakes and tidal waves, extreme weather events, or future pandemics – we put lives and economies at risk. We also have no chance to be the first generation in human history that can end extreme poverty.
 
Just a few days ago, the world was again reminded of our vulnerability to disasters, after Tropical Cyclone Pam, one of the most powerful storms ever to make landfall, devastated the islands of Vanuatu. Some reports found that as much as 90 percent of the housing in Port Vila was badly damaged.  When the cyclone hit, I was in Sendai for the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, which took place only a few days after the fourth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. That quake and subsequent tsunami tragically resulted in more than 15,000 deaths and caused an estimated $300 billion in damage.

Helping farmers prevent hunger in Ebola-hit countries

Abdoulaye Toure's picture
Photo credit: Guido Fuà


Most people are aware of Ebola's devastating impact on human health. To date, over 22,800 people have been infected and 9,000 have died. Its effects on West Africa's economy have also been well-documented. According to recent World Bank estimates, Ebola will cause at least US$ 1.6 billion in lost economic growth in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2015.

We Need a New Global Response to Pandemics

Jim Yong Kim's picture
A family in Guinea. © UNICEF


​In a couple of days, I’ll join leaders from the worlds of business, governments, politics, arts, and academia at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The Forum is one of the premier events for discussing global risks. Many if not most of these risks are identified in the Forum’s annual Global Risks report.

The Path to Zero: Ebola at Year’s End

Tim Evans's picture
© UNICEF


It’s been a difficult year for the people of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and all those fighting to end the terrible­­ Ebola epidemic that took thousands of lives, spread fear and destabilized economies. Though the globa­­­­­l response to this crisis was too slow, at year’s end, there are hopeful signs that international mobilization is having an impact, and that the countries most affected by the disease are coalescing around the goal of “zero cases.”

Tim Evans: Global Financing Facility to Advance Women’s and Children’s Health

Tim Evans's picture

Today, the World Bank Group and the governments of Canada, Norway, and the United States announced that they will jumpstart the creation of an innovative Global Financing Facility to mobilize support for developing countries’ plans to accelerate progress on the health-related Millennium Development Goals and bring an end to preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030. Watch the video blog below for more on my thoughts about this exciting announcement.
 

Tim Evans: Global Financing Facility to Advance Women’s and Children’s Health

Ebola: “Huge Economic Costs” If Epidemic Not Contained

Julia Ross's picture
Ebola: Economic Impact Already Serious; Could Be “Catastrophic”

A new World Bank Group analysis finds that if the Ebola epidemic continues to surge in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, its economic impact could deal a catastrophic blow to the already fragile countries. However, swift national and international responses can limit the costs. Listen to World Bank Group President Jim Kim discuss the Ebola crisis and response in the video above, or read his latest post on LinkedIn.

Combating Foot and Mouth Disease in Bangladesh

Shiro Nakata's picture
Professor Anwar Hossain and his research team at Dept. of Microbiology, University of Dhaka
Livestock production provides valuable income and savings for farmers in Bangladesh – many of whom are small scale dairy farmers in rural areas.  Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) is one of the most threatening diseases to animal health. Unfortunately, South Asia is known as a FMD endemic area, and FMD outbreaks have been recurrent. The disease is extremely infectious and significantly reduces the production of milk and meat as well as the value of cattle – very important assets that protect families from economic shocks. According to the Department of Livestock, Bangladesh loses as much as US$125 million annually due to FMD.
 
Vaccination is one of the effective strategies to prevent FMD infection. Due to a high rate of mutation in FMD virus, there is an urgent need for the development of safe and effective vaccines for FMD.
 
“Bangladesh spends a lot of money to import FMD vaccines – but these are produced for foreign strains of FMD viruses, and they are ineffective against the virus strains circulating in Bangladesh. We need to have vaccine development capacity of our own,” says Prof. Anwar Hossain, Department of Microbiology of University of Dhaka and Manager of the sub-project titled, Foot and Mouth Disease in Bangladesh: Genome Analysis and Vaccine Development Project.
Scientific Instruments Purchased under HEQEP

Prof. Anwar’s sub-project was awarded a competitive research grant of BDT 23.7 million (about US 304,000) from the Higher Education Quality Enhancement Project (HEQEP). His project is conducting studies to determine variation in FMD virus of Bangladesh origin and developing appropriate methods of prevention against FMD viruses. Using the fund, Prof. Anwar and his team upgraded their laboratory with essential modern scientific equipment such as real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine to read DNA sequences and bio-safety cabinet together with a lot of indispensable laboratory consumables.
 
Since its inception in 2011, the sub-project has made significant achievements on their research work. These include completion of epidemiological study of serotype and lineage of FMD viruses, isolation and genome-wide analysis of FMD virus in Bangladesh, and publishing papers in international academic journals.