John Overmyer

Beyond Pandemics

The World Health Organization has now officially declared the H1N1 flu virus to be a global pandemic, and governments, international organizations, and people around the world are rightly focused on fighting it. But, even as we cope with today’s challenge, we must look ahead - guided by the same principle of global solidarity - to potentially far more serious health risks.

NEW YORK – The World Health Organization has now officially declared the H1N1 flu virus to be a global pandemic. Governments, international organizations, and people around the world are rightly focused on fighting it.

The speed with which the H1N1 virus has spread to almost every continent highlights our mutual interdependence. Nowadays, the impact of disease in one country is ultimately felt by all. Any effective response, therefore, must be grounded in a sense of global solidarity and enlightened self-interest.

We must recognize, yet again, that we are all in this together. When a new disease sweeps the world, access to vaccines and anti-viral medicines cannot be limited to those who can pay for them. Wealthy nations cannot hope to remain healthy if poorer nations do not. Virus samples and information must be shared openly and quickly. Governments and major pharmaceutical companies must be sure that poorer nations receive the medical supplies they need.

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