McMaster University

McMaster University

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Health Sciences

Preparation for pandemics topic of talk

Published: November 4, 2013
Rima Khabbaz
Dr. Rima Khabbaz, deputy director of the Office of Infectious Diseases for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control

The challenges governments face as they prepare to handle future infectious disease pandemics was the topic of a public discussion Nov. 4, featuring a top infectious disease expert from the United States.

Dr. Rima Khabbaz, deputy director of the Office of Infectious Diseases for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, shared her views on the world’s ability to control and respond to the rapid spread of infectious diseases, during the event entitled "The Pandemic Next Door: Complexities of a Global Outbreak Response".

Global changes such as increased urbanization, intercontinental travel and trans-border trade have contributed to the ability of disease to spread rapidly throughout the world, such as happened during the SARS outbreak a decade ago, and the more recent swine flu (H1N1) pandemic in 2009.

The public event with Khabbaz was hosted by Steven Hoffman, an adjunct faculty member with the McMaster Health Forum and an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Hoffman is also a visiting assistant professor at Harvard University.

The two discussed the specific challenges different levels of government face when it comes to responding to and controlling pandemics, including how to allocate resources to prepare for pandemics, intellectual property rights concerning the sharing of pathogens, and global government arrangements to ensure necessary coordination and cooperation during pandemics. The audience was given the opportunity to ask questions and share their views about pandemics.

The stakeholder dialogue was funded by the Global Health Research Initiative.

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