Finding Outbreaks Faster - How Do We Measure Progress?

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Nov 04, 2018
by Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu
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Finding Outbreaks Faster - How Do We Measure Progress?

Experts to convene at Schloss Leopoldskron, in Salzburg, Austria, to explore a framework for measuring outbreak timeliness metrics Photo by Ousa Chea on Unsplash

In 1918, the Spanish flu pandemic infected one-third of the world’s population and took more than 50 million lives. A century later, despite significant advancements in our understanding, flu viruses continue to pose a serious threat. There is a considerable need to identify, prepare for, and deter outbreaks and encourage cross-border multilateral collaboration.

Between Sunday, November 4, 2018, and Thursday, November 8, 2018, Salzburg Global Seminar and Ending Pandemics are convening an invitation-only program to advance a common framework for monitoring progress toward pandemic preparedness in every country.

Our latest program - Finding Outbreaks Faster: How Do We Measure Progress? - will bring together field epidemiologists, government and intergovernmental officials, NGO leaders, academics, and others working in 16 countries and territories spanning across five continents.

Participants will explore a framework for measuring outbreak timeliness metrics that can help guide progress toward meeting the goals of the Global Health Security Agenda and ensure compliance with the International Health Regulations.

This program aims to review and finalize the outbreak metrics framework to account for lessons learned during pilot studies in 28 countries. Participants will also help identify key barriers to implementation at the national and transboundary levels and develop guidance to address these barriers.

Participants will also map out concrete steps to align the outbreak metrics framework with key global governance initiatives and will be expected to operationalize the outbreak metrics framework for prospective measurement in every country. During the four-day program, participants will engage in small group discussions and attend plenary talks. They will be encouraged to move out of their comfort zones, collaborate, and participate.

This program aligns with three of the Sustainable Development Goals. These goals include ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages, building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation. It also adheres to strengthening global partnerships to support and achieve the targets of the 2030 Agenda.

Mark Smolinski, president of Ending Pandemics, has previously said, “Microbes are not deterred by borders, and neither are we. Ending pandemics is a movement that starts with all of us.” Alongside Ending Pandemics and the University of Minnesota, Salzburg Global Seminar looks forward to prompting candid dialogue and fresh thinking on the topic, searching for innovative but practical solutions.


The program Finding Outbreaks Faster: How Do We Measure Progress? is being held in partnership with Ending Pandemics and the University of Minnesota. To keep up to date with the conversations taking place during the program, please follow #SGShealth on Twitter and Instagram.