Statement to the 148th Session of the World Health Organization Executive Board

The following is the statement given by Dr. Carl Reddy, the director of TEPHINET, on behalf of The Task Force for Global Health during the 148th session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board on January 19, 2021. The Task Force for Global Health attends WHO meetings as a WHO Non-State Actor. The 148th session was held virtually from January 18-26. Dr. Reddy’s statement was delivered as part of agenda item 14.2: WHO’s work in health emergencies. This statement, along with statements given by other Non-State Actors during the 148th session, are available on the WHO website.

We are encouraged by the strong commitment of WHO and Member States to the COVID-19 response.

The Task Force for Global Health (TFGH) is a global nonprofit organization based in Atlanta, USA. Our 17 programs partner with WHO around the world, including building public health workforce capacity through the Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET). TEPHINET is the global network of more than 75 Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs) serving 160 countries with over 14,000 alumni and 4,770 trainees, forming a global cadre of well-trained field epidemiologists that play a critical role in strengthening health systems and global health security.

The world now recognizes the importance of outbreaks and public health emergencies. There will be other pandemics and no single institution has all the capacity required to be adequately prepared to face future threats. We need to harness the resources and capacities of a wide range of partners and stakeholders and we need political leadership and whole-of-government/society commitment. It is also critical to develop the human resources and field epidemiology technical capacity required to protect the health of all people.

The TFGH convened a meeting of key leaders and partners across the globe working to develop effective global field epidemiology capacity, framing this global partnership as the FETP Enterprise. The group developed a Road Map comprising a set of seven recommendations and a broadly representative Strategic Leadership Group (SLG), co-chaired by the WHO and CDC, is being established to provide a driving force for progress and implement the recommendations.

We urge you to support the work of the SLG to ensure that every country in the world has the applied epidemiology capacities needed to protect and promote the health of its own population, and to collaborate with others to promote global health.