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CMB Trustee Harvey Fineberg Addresses PMAC on the Threats of Infectious Diseases

The 2018 Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC), held January 29 – February 3 in Bangkok, addressed the theme of “Making the World Safe from the Threats of Infectious Diseases.” The timing marked a centenary of the Great Influenza Pandemic in 1918. PMAC is an annual international forum for sharing evidence for health-related policies and strengthening commitment to global health. It draws an international audience of health policy leaders, researchers, academics, nongovernmental organization representatives, and others.

CMB Trustee Harvey Fineberg delivered a plenary address on “The Ever-present Threat of Emerging Infections and Pandemics.” Dr. Fineberg highlighted the growing intensification of drivers of emerging infections – rapid urbanization; increased and speed of travel; changes in the environment; proximity to animals; and conflicts, disasters, and other vulnerabilities. Antimicrobial resistance, combined with inadequate preparedness and response capabilities, further increases the challenge of managing outbreaks. To increase health security, Dr. Fineberg argued that policymakers and professionals should make better use of tools already available, such as smart surveillance, techniques to increase resilience, and administering vaccines, as well as increase investments in research and technological development.

Over the past decade, CMB has supported young Chinese and Southeast Asian health emerging leaders to attend PMAC. The goal is to broaden their international health engagement and networking. This year, CMB also scheduled the Equity Fellows Annual Forum to immediately follow PMAC, enabling some of the three cohorts of Fellows to participate in PMAC sessions. In addition to Dr. Fineberg, CMB Trustees Jane Henney, Jeff Koplan, and Jeff Williams also attended PMAC.