"Never before has the need for a localized approach to crises been so evident"

25 March 2020, Italian Red Cross voluntary nurses holding COVID-19 awareness sessions and health screening in shelters for homeless and vulnerable people

25 March 2020, an Italian Red Cross voluntary nurses holds a COVID-19 awareness session and health screening in a shelter for homeless and vulnerable people

Photo: Italian Red Cross/Michele Squillantini

On the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness, Jagan Chapagain, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said:

Geneva, 27 December 2021 - “As we end this year, and on this International Day of Epidemic Preparedness, I would like to pay tribute to the brave and invaluable contributions of frontline responders. For the past two years, they have helped to detect and slow the spread of COVID-19, to treat and support those most affected, and dispel myths and rumours about the virus, vaccines and the wider response. They continue to support our communities worldwide. While some literally gave their lives to keep others safe, governments struggled, and are still struggling, to pull together a global coordinated and inclusive response.

“Never before has the need for a localized approach to crises been so evident, but it cannot fall on the shoulders of local responders alone. The international community can, and must, do better by them. Unique opportunities to put communities at the centre of the response are laid before us in 2022, from the upcoming White House COVID summit and the launch of Global Vax to the reconvening of Member States to agree on an international instrument to strengthen preparedness and response to pandemics. We urge decision-makers to strengthen recognition of, and support to, community engagement and feedback mechanisms, community health systems and community surveillance and preparedness programs.

“Public health emergencies are our past, our present, and we will face them again. Based on the IFRC’s years of experience in responding to health crises around the world, and on our network’s mandate to assist Governments with legal preparedness for disasters and public health emergencies, we stand ready to continue to support communities and respond to their needs.”

For more information

In Geneva: Ann Vaessen, +41 79 405 7750, [email protected]

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