EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization focusing on local conservation and global health issue, recently announced the results of a study analyzing the benefits of proactive response versus reaction response when it comes to disease outbreaks like Ebola.
In the study, EcoHealth Alliance economists worked together on an in-depth economic analysis looking at the global strategy to address pandemic threats in a proactive way, rather than as a reactive response to a crisis.
The completed paper shows the use of economic modeling to analyze two strategies for pandemic response, current approaches that rely on global surveillance to identify disease, and new “mitigation” strategies to reduce the underlying causes of emerging diseases and lower the risks in the first place. Dr. Peter Daszak, senior author on the paper and President of EcoHealth Alliance, explained “Our research shows that new approaches to reducing emerging pandemic threats at the source would be more cost effective than trying to mobilize a global response after a disease has emerged.”
Not surprisingly, the results showed that the current strategy for dealing with pandemics needs to be coordinated on a global scale, urgently, if it is to be effective in reducing risk. The report also found that mitigation strategies would be far more effective in the long-term. Since the majority of emerging infectious diseases involve animal-to-human transmission, the common underlying factors included environmental changes such as deforestation and wildlife trade.
Co-author of the study Dr. David Finnoff, of the University of Wyoming, says “With continued pressure causing emerging diseases to rise, our analysis shows that we need to analyze the ecological and economic foundations of this risk and identify economically effective strategies to reduce it.” The authors conclude that the new approach to dealing with disease emergence is at the source, which is demonstrated by their economic modeling.