In a correspondence article published on May 17 in The Lancet, the League of European Research Universities ( LERU ) -in which the UB is the only Spanish member university-, together with the European Global Health Research Institutes Network ( EGHRIN ) express how Europe has to take a leading position worldwide in the development of a comprehensive and timely response to health emergencies. The article highlights the need to promote the role of universities and research institutes in the contribution to the new European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) from the European Commission.
The article is signed, among others, by the UB lecturers Núria Casamitjana and Antoni Plasència, dicretor of Training and general manager of the Barcelona Global Health Institute Barcelona ( ISGlobal ), founding partner of the EGHRIN network. Both experts have collaborated with LERU for two years to give visibility to the issues related to global health, and they say this article aims to influence HERA "to adopt a comprehensive five-pronged bundled model, and work on this close collaborations with existing agencies in the EU and important agencies outside the Union".
This model would be based on:
- Technological innovation and rapid response to market and regulatory challenges
- Harmonization of policy development and adaptable policy implementation at national and sub-national levels Monitoring, preparedness and response mechanisms
- Horizon scanning to adequately detect cross-border threats and hazards in Europe or elsewhere and to monitor and evaluate new countermeasure products, devices, and technologies
- Education and training with the contribution of academic and public health institutions offering cross-disciplinary didactic plans
"This way, HERA would facilitate technological innovation, and it would promote the development and implementation of policies, it would conduct predictive scenarios and would develop educational and training activities to ensure the availability of necessary capabilities regarding health emergencies", note the experts. This five-pronged bundled model depends on a better involvement with countries outside the EU, specially those with low and mid incomes.
Moreover, Casamitjana and Plasència have expressed that ISGlobal, institute with UB participation, offers its scientific, technical and international relations capacities at the disposal of the authorities to prepare the candidacy of the city of Barcelona as the future headquarters of HERA.
On Friday, May 21, the G20 Presidency and the European Commission co-organized the Global Health Summit to share learnt lessons over the COVID-19 pandemic and debate on the best way to cope with future crises. A place where the members debated on many already announced initiatives by the European Commission to face future health emergencies, among them the creation of HERA.