On 11 March 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) released its Global Influenza Strategy for 2019-2030, aimed at protecting people in all countries from the threat of influenza.
The goal of the strategy is to prevent seasonal influenza, control its spread from animals to humans, and prepare for the next pandemic.
Influenza remains one of the world’s greatest public health challenges. Every year, there are an estimated one billion cases globally, of which between three and five million are severe cases, resulting in 290,000 to 650,000 influenza-related respiratory deaths.
The WHO recommends annual vaccination as the most effective way to prevent influenza. Vaccination is especially important for people at higher risk of serious influenza complications and for health care workers.
The new strategy is the most comprehensive and far-reaching developed for influenza. It outlines a path to protect populations and helps prepare for a pandemic through strengthening routine programmes. The strategy has two overarching goals:
- To build stronger country capacities for disease surveillance and response, prevention and control, and preparedness. To achieve this, it calls for every country to have a tailored influenza programme that contributes to national and global preparedness and health security.
- Develop better tools to prevent, detect, control and treat influenza, such as more effective vaccines, antivirals and treatments, with the goal of making these accessible for all countries.
Source: WHO, 11 March 2019