Calls for strengthening health systems in preparation for the next pandemic have intensified in the wake of COVID-19, with estimates ranging from $15 billion to $50 billion needed annually to scale up global capacity to prevent, detect and respond to emerging pandemics. A new Pandemic Fund was created in November 2022 with $2 billion initially pledged, against which over $7 billion of proposals were submitted during the Fund’s first call for proposals. This large excess demand underscores the importance of spending limited resources wisely and strategically to get ready for the next pandemic.
This raises two questions: First, which areas of pandemic investment have the biggest payoff
and should thus be prioritized? Second, if these investments do not have an immediate benefit against future pandemics, since we do not know when the next one will hit, can they help in the meantime to support ongoing efforts in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to battle infectious diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria that kill more than 2.5 million people each year? Can pandemic preparedness investments thus be dual-purpose, delivering health benefits now in “peacetime” and again against a global pandemic in “wartime”? Read more here.