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Pandemic: Controlling infectious diseases before they spread

Critical steps needed to address global pandemic vulnerability:

  • Better disease surveillance and health care systems
  • Stronger leadership from researchers, health agencies and pharmaceutical company roles
  • Containment measures that involve better cultural, community and economic engagement

If researchers and doctors learned nothing else from the 2013 Ebola outbreak that eventually claimed 11,325 victims, they realised the challenges of preventing infectious diseases from spreading far and wide.

‘In a world of radically increased interdependence, international travel and trade, there is no such thing as a local outbreak anymore,’ said WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan in in 2015. ‘New diseases are now emerging at an unprecedented rate. No one expects this trend to end.’

‘It takes just a single crisis — an epidemic, a natural disaster or even the death of a key physician who falls victim to disease — to make whole health care systems and economies come crashing to the ground,’ says Dr. Lori Stetz, Senior Medical Director, Aetna International. ‘To have any hope of containing future outbreaks, it’s essential to understand the nature and transmission pathways of infectious diseases and involve local communities in detection, prevention and communication efforts. We have made significant strides, but more vital action is needed.’

Read the paper

So if the effects of outbreaks like Ebola are likely to be felt around the world, what should the world do to stop the next pandemic before it starts? To share our views of this very significant risk and our thoughts on how to counteract it, we have created an opinion paper, ‘Pandemic: Controlling infectious diseases before they spread’.

In addition, read part 2 of our infectious diseases opinion paper series here:
Endemic infectious disease: Focusing the world’s attention on neglected killers

About the authors

Dr. Stella George, Senior Medical, Director Aetna International

Dr. George is the Head of Care Management (Americas) and is responsible for the delivery of all of our care management programs through her team’s global clinical operations. She is responsible for driving the care management strategy. She has oversight on the clinical program design which is focused on developing member-centric innovative programs focused on increasing member engagement and improving health outcomes.

Dr. Lori Stetz, Senior Medical Director, Aetna International

As Senior Medical Director for Aetna International, Dr. Lori Stetz provides guidance, support, and medical leadership for all care management activities around the globe. Lori drives medical policy, and actively participates in strategic planning and program and product development in concurrence with changing markets and technologies. Lori also manages Aetna International’s emergency evacuation program, helping to ensure appropriate health care delivery for our members around the globe.

Dr. Mitesh Patel, Medical Director, Aetna International

As Medical Director for Aetna International, Dr. Patel provides guidance, support, and medical leadership for care management activities in Europe. Dr. Patel also manages Aetna International’s emergency evacuation program, helping to ensure appropriate health care delivery for our members around the globe.

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