Identifying the Next Steps Forward to Find Outbreaks Faster

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Nov 27, 2018
by Oscar Tollast
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Identifying the Next Steps Forward to Find Outbreaks Faster

Participants of Finding Outbreaks Faster: How Do We Measure Progress? offer personal and professional commitments to move work forward Participants place their commitments on the board for others to see

The theme for the final day of the Finding Outbreaks Faster: How Do We Measure Progress? program was “Implementation at Scale.” Participants were asked to create an action plan together, which involved creating a timeline as a group and outlining their commitments to advance the outbreak timeliness metrics.

In the first exercise, participants were asked to consider progress markers which could be pinpointed on an action plan for the year ahead and beyond. Suggested activities included creating a public website featuring data from past projects and case studies.

In the immediate future, meanwhile, the metrics refined in Salzburg could be finalized and published. The metrics could also be tested in new pilot studies. An ongoing communications strategy and training plan for non-technical stakeholders could also be developed.

Looking ahead one year from now, the metrics could be extended to the concept of “One Health,” a strategy for expanding interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of health care for humans, animals and the environment. In total, participants put forward more than 35 actionable steps. As one participant remarked, “This was the work of a collective saying we are going to make the world better.”

As the program came to an end, each participant was asked to make a personal commitment, which they would speak and tape to a wall for all to see. One participant committed to working with all his heart to change mindsets of public health specialists towards outbreak timeliness metrics.

Another, meanwhile, said they would continue to use timeliness metrics and promote their use in IHR evaluations and assessments as important indicators. In a bid to build excitement around the metrics, one participant said they would advocate for a strategic and comprehensive communication approach and urged Ending Pandemics to invest in resources in this area.

Mark Smolinski, president of Ending Pandemics, revealed his organization was committed to providing up to $50,000 of matching funds to country partners in up to 10 countries in 2019 to test and implement prospective measurement of timeliness metrics. Salzburg Global Seminar has committed to sharing the outcomes from this program to its network. It will also bring this topic to the attention of a couple of its high-level annual multiyear series, including Philanthropy and Social Investment, and the Public Sector Strategy Network.

Salzburg Global has also committed to working with Ending Pandemics and other interested partners to advance this program further in the years ahead.


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.